This article uncovers:
- The factors that impact child custody rulings in Maryland.
- How an attorney can help you navigate your custody case in court.
- When the age of your child plays a part in their custody arrangement.
How Is Custody Determined Between Divorcing Individuals In Maryland?
Child custody issues in a Maryland divorce case can quickly become challenging in so many ways. Despite what parents may want for their child, custody is determined based on the best interest of the child standard. This standard has been developed through case law in Maryland’s appellate courts.
Judges must decide the physical or legal custody of a minor child or children based on a list of about 12 different factors. These factors weigh differently in each case, but critical factors are generally:
- The distance between the parent’s homes;
- Where the child’s school is;
- Whether the child is doing well;
- If the child has any special medical needs;
- What type of extended family relations the child has;
- How well the parents get along;
- Whether the parents agree on decision-making.
From here, we help our clients determine what facts will be relevant to their case and what the judge will want to hear. This is because what clients often feel is essential is not so to the judge.
Is There An Age In Maryland Where A Child Can Have Input Into A Custody Decision?
There is no definite age at which a child can have input about custody in Maryland.
When people ask this question, they generally ask about physical custody, i.e., where the child lives and what type of visitation schedule they will have. Courts typically take the age and level of understanding as to what is going on with the family of the child into consideration.
So, for example, suppose a seven-year-old whose parents have just divorced says they do not want anything to do with their mother. A judge will not allow them to make that decision. Further, in the absence of severe allegations like abuse or neglect, the child often will not have to say at all. Take the same circumstances but with a 16-year-old instead of a seven-year-old, and things will be different.
So, in general, children over 13 may have some input into the custody decision.
For more information on Child Custody Issues In A Maryland Divorce, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (443) 300-2335 today.