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Maryland Child Custody Laws

The Old Line State is a wonderful place to fall in love. Sadly, however, not every Maryland romance can have a happy ending. If you and your ex have children, it may be up to you to figure out who will get custody and what state laws might apply to your case. Here is a brief summary of child custody laws in Maryland.

Child Custody Laws

Most states, like Maryland, have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Act, making each state's child custody laws generally the same. Joint custody is an option for separated parents in Maryland, and the state recognizes grandparents' visitation rights. Maryland does not consider the wishes of the child in custody matters, although a 16 year old may petition the court for a change of custody.

Child Custody Statutes in Maryland

Learn more about Maryland's child custody laws in the chart below.

Code Section

Fam. §5-203, 9-102

Year Uniform Child Custody Act Adopted

1957

Joint Custody an Option?

Yes, §5-203(d)(2)

Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized?

Yes, §9-102

Child's Own Wishes Considered?

No; 9-103 Child 16 yrs. old may petition for change of custody

Maryland Custody Hearings

In many cases, parents are unable to agree on a custody arrangement on their own, and they may have to attend a custody hearing in court to decide any contested custody issues. In nearly every case, the main concern in creating a custody arrangement will be the child's best interests. Family courts in Maryland are permitted to consider any factor that may be relevant to the child's best interests, giving more influence to those factors that can affect your child's safety and wellbeing.

Many of the best interest factors will focus on the child, like his or her relationship with any siblings and the need for consistency and continuity in his or her education, community, and family life. Other factors may focus on the parents, like which is more likely to take care of the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of the child, or which is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with the child.

Maryland Family Laws Related Resources:

Trying to sort out child custody matters at the end of a relationship can be emotionally and legally difficult. If you would like legal assistance with a child custody matter, you can contact an Maryland family law attorney. You can visit FindLaw's Child Custody section for more articles and resources on this topic.

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