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Child custody laws in Maryland

When a couple with a child divorces, custody of the child may be given to one parent or shared between the two. In some cases, this is determined by an arrangement between the parents, but if an agreement cannot be reached, the court will step in and decide. According to Maryland law, no preference is given to the gender of the parent, and child custody is determined based on the best interests of the child.

There are a variety of factors that go into deciding what is in the best interests of a child during a custody dispute, and there is no single factor that is more important than the others. Some of the most common considerations include which parent is the primary care giver and spends the most time with the child and which parent is most fit for caring for a child. The court may also look at which parent will be better at providing financially for a child and keeping them in contact with friends and family.

Fathers of children may also petition for custody or visitation, even if they were never married to the mother of the child. However, before the matter is considered, paternity must be established.

The way that visitation and custody disputes are decided can have an effect on both the children and the parents, and understanding how the law works may help someone ensure that they have a persuasive argument to present to the court. A family law attorney may be able to help a parent who is involved in a custody dispute or seeking a modification of an existing order.

Source: Maryland's People‚Äôs Law Library, "Child Custody in Maryland", September 10, 2014

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