Nothing can be more painful than losing custody of your child. In situations where both parents adamantly want custody of their children, it is imperative to hire an influential and experienced custody lawyer.

Legal Custody versus Physical Custody

There are two types of child custody in Maryland: Legal custody and Physical custody.

Legal custody entails who makes the “big” decisions in the child’s life.  These decisions include religious and education considerations and medical treatment decisions.  The court may order that a parent have sole legal custody where that parent is responsible for these big decisions or shared legal custody where the parents have to work together to make these decisions.

Physical custody is where the child sleeps at night.  There are different permutations of custody ranging from a parent receiving primary physical custody of the child with visitation going to the other parent, primary physical custody of the child with no visitation to the other parent (although this is rare) to shared physical custody of the child where each parent has at least 127 overnights with the child.  The Courts prefer that both parents raise the child as much as possible unless there are extenuating circumstances (such as abuse of the child by one parent).

“Best Interest of the Child” Factors

Child custody and visitation in Maryland is always based on the “Best Interests of the Child” and a number of factors are used to evaluate that:

  1. Who is the current primary care giver?
  2. What are the psychological and physical capabilities (fitness) of each parent?
  3. What is the character and reputation of each party?
  4. Is there a custody agreement already in place?
  5. Who will be best able to help the child keep family relationships?
  6. What is the preference of the child? This depends on the age of the child.
  7. Which parent has the financial resources to provide best for the child?
  8. What is the age, health, and gender of child?
  9. What are the residences of parents and opportunity for visitation for the non-custodial parent?
  10. How long has the parent been separated from the child?
  11. Is there a history of one parent walking out and leaving the other parent to cope with the child and the home?
  12. What are the religious views of either parent?
  13. Is there a disability of one parent that precludes them from taking care of the child?

All of these factors are taken into account, some more than others, in determining what is the best custody arrangement for a child.


Contact Us Today for a Consultation

During a consultation at Azari Law LLC, our family law attorneys will evaluate your case and clearly explain the legal process and also manage your expectations of the case as it develops. Call us today at (301) 362-3300, or email us to set up a consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys. We are conveniently located in Laurel, Silver Spring, Rockville, and Ellicott City MD.