Legal Information: Maryland

Custody

Updated: 
November 13, 2017

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of getting a custody order?

There are many reasons people choose not to file for custody.  Some people decide not to get a custody order because they don’t want to get the courts involved.  Some parents make an informal agreement that works well for them.  Some parents think going to court will provoke the other parent, or they are worried that if a custody case is started, the other parent will suddenly fight for (and get) more custody or visitation rights than they are comfortable with.

However, getting a custody order from a court can give you certain legal rights.  Getting a custody order can give you:

  • the right to make major decisions about your child and/or
  • the right to residency (to have your child live with you).

However, if you file for custody, the other parent may also request these rights and it may be up to the judge to decide (if the parents can’t come to an agreement).

We strongly recommend talking to a lawyer who can help you think through if filing for custody would be best for you, depending on the facts of your situation.  You can find referrals for legal help by clicking on the MD Finding a Lawyer page.

Some people think they should file for custody so they can get child support.  While custody and child support are related, you do not necessarily need a custody order to get child support.   A custody order will not automatically give you child support.  For information on filing for child support, you can contact your local courthouse by going to our MD Courthouse Locations page or talk to a lawyer.