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Legal Information: Maryland


Laws current as of
November 27, 2023

What are the different types of custody arrangements that can be issued?

According to the The People’s Law Library of Maryland, the following forms of custody exist in Maryland:

Sole custody is when both legal and physical custody are given to one parent. The child has only one primary residence.

Split custody is easiest to describe in a situation where there are two children and each parent obtains full physical custody over one child.  Some of the considerations that may cause this type of custody arrangement are the age of the children and each child’s preference.

Joint custody is actually broken down into three categories:

  • Joint legal custody is where the parents share care and control of the upbringing of the child, but the child has only one primary residence;
  • In shared physical custody the child has two residences, spending at least 35% of his/her time with one other parent and the rest of the time with the other;
  • Additionally, a person can make his/her own joint custody agreement that is any combination of shared physical and joint legal custody.  One example of this is when there is one residence for the child and the parents rotate living there with the child.1

Note: In Maryland, judges deciding custody do not automatically give preference to either the mother or the father.2

1 See The People’s Law Library of Maryland website
2 Md. Code, Fam. Law § 5-203(d)(2)