Law Office of Kevin L. Beard, P.A.

Who gets child custody in a Maryland divorce?

The decision to divorce is one of the most difficult a person can make. When children are involved, the decision to exit an unhappy marriage can be even harder.

Child custody is one of the top concerns for many parents contemplating divorce. There is a common misperception that mothers are always granted child custody in divorce. That is not always the case.

Factors in Maryland child custody determinations

Maryland courts determine child custody arrangements based on the child's best interests. This determination is subjective and courts take a variety of factors into consideration, including:

  • The child's wishes
  • Parents' preferences
  • Adultery in the marriage
  • The type and severity of disagreements between the parents
  • The housing situation of each parent
  • If a child was abandoned or surrendered by a parent
  • Material advantages
  • Fitness of the parents

Joint custody arrangements

Sometimes a court will determine that joint custody is in the best interests of a child. Joint custody is usually only awarded in situations where the parents can cooperate well in making decisions regarding the child's upbringing.

Joint custody determinations are based on multiple factors, including parents' ability to communicate with each other and share custody, the fitness of the parents, nature of the parent-child relationship, and whether the arrangement would have a detrimental impact on the child, among other things.

The visitation rights of other parties

In determining child custody, courts in Maryland focus primarily on the best interests of a child in relation to the child's parents. However, there are cases in which nonparents may be granted visitation rights.

Grandparent visitation is warranted in some cases, but it is not a constitutional guarantee in the state. Grandparents must generally show that a parent is unfit or that other exceptional circumstances exist to be awarded visitation or custody rights. This is because a parent who is awarded custody is generally assumed to be acting in the best interests of a child when denying visitation to grandparents.

In other cases, a longtim e partner of a parent becomes a "de facto" parent for a child, but never adopts the child. In Maryland, "de facto" parents aren't recognized, but third-party visitation is sometimes permitted in cases where a natural parent is unfit or other exceptional circumstances exist.

How a family law attorney can help

It is crucial to visit an experienced family law attorney when contemplating divorce, particularly when children are involved. A family law attorney can determine the best way to proceed with a divorce given the particular circumstances of your marriage. In cases where joint custody is appropriate, an attorney can help ensure that the best interests of your child are clearly stated to the court making a determination.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

What Our Clients' Say

  • "From the very first time I met with Kevin, I felt that I had someone on my side that would fight for my daughter – just as hard as I would."

    – Kim H.
Read More
  • American Bar Association | Defending Liberty Pursuing Justice
  • Baltimore County Bar America 1921
  • Maryland Association for Justice
  • MSBA
Email Us For A Response

Contact The Law Office Of Kevin L. Beard, P.A. If you have a legal need, contact our firm. Initial consultations are free. We are happy to schedule evening and weekend appointments by request.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Law Office of Kevin L. Beard, P.A.
614 Old Edmondson Ave, Suite 101
Catonsville, MD 21228

Catonsville Law Office Map

Phone 410-929-7197
Toll Free 888-366-6439
Fax 410-744-3373