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Legal Information: Maryland


Laws current as of November 27, 2023

How will the judge make a decision about custody?

When deciding who will have custody, a judge will try to make an arrangement that s/he thinks is in the best interest of your child. The court will base its decision on many factors. Some of the things a judge will consider are:

  • the fitness (parenting ability) of the parents;
  • the character and reputation of the parents;
  • the wishes of the parents, and any agreements between them;
  • the potential for keeping “natural family relations;”
  • the preference of the child, when the child is old and mature enough to reasonably give an opinion;
  • material opportunities affecting the future life of the child;
  • the age, health, and sex of the child;
  • where the parents live and the opportunity for visitation;
  • the length of the separation of the parents; and
  • whether either parent willingly gave up of custody of the child.1

1 See MD Law Encyclopedia, Parent and Child § 10; Best v. Best, 93 Md. App. 644, 613 A.2d 1043 (1992)