Joint Custody Considerations
Under Maryland law, custody of a minor child is defined in terms of “legal custody”; “ physical custody ”; “sole custody”; “shared custody” and “ joint custody ”. When making a custody determination, Maryland judges and magistrates apply a legal standard known as the “child’s best interests” and determine where the residence of the child will be and whether one or both parents will make decisions concerning the child.
Physical custody means the parent with whom the child resides. Joint physical custody means that the physical care and supervision of the child is split between the parents’ homes. Legal custody is the right to make major life-shaping decisions concerning the child. Examples of these decisions are education, health care and religious matters. Joint legal custody means that the parents jointly make these important decisions.
Child custody may be determined by the court or agreed upon by the parties in a settlement agreement. For a court to either make a custodial decision or approve a custodial agreement reached by a child’s parents, a judge or magistrate considers such factors as
- the history and ability of the parents to cooperate or “co-parent”;
- the history and extent of each parent’s involvement in the child’s life and upbringing prior to separation;
- the ability of each parent to establish and maintain a wholesome living environment for the child;
- the history and ability of each parent to care for and nurture the child; and
- the physical distance between the parents’ homes
Generally if both parents request joint custody – physical and/or legal – it is granted by the Maryland courts.
If you are involved in a custody dispute or considering separation and divorce, seek the advice of a knowledgeable Columbia MD family law attorney at Coover Law Firm today. For a free one-half hour consultation on your Maryland family law matter in Howard County MD and beyond, call 410-995-1100.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is provided for general educational & informational purposes only. It is not intended to convey legal advice or serve as a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.
Coover Law Firm, LLC serves clients in and around Columbia MD, Ellicott City MD, Clarksville MD, Elkridge MD and beyond.