Judges in the State of Maryland have great discretion when it comes to child custody and must determine the best interests of the children when making decisions that will impact their lives. They can come up with creative solutions depending on the circumstances of the situation and both parents’ living arrangements to provide the best custody arrangements.

There are several forms of child custody in Maryland that can benefit many families. Every family’s circumstances are different, so it is advisable to consult with a dedicate legal representative about which arrangement would meet your particular needs before entering litigation.

Bird’s Nest

Nesting is form of child custody in Maryland where the children stay in the marital home despite having separated parents. The children’s parents would alternate access, meaning that when it is mom’s time, she would come to the house and stay with the kids, and when it is dad’s time, he would come in and stay.

This arrangement prevents the kids from having to travel between two homes and promotes stability. However, a bird’s nest custody arrangement is not something a court will order and can only be accomplished if the parties agree to it on their own.

Shared

Shared or joint custody could refer to legal or physical access and is defined as equal decision-making rights to both parties. Joint legal custody allows the parties to discuss and come to an agreement regarding major long term decisions in their children’s lives such as where they go to school, what type of medical care they get, what their religion is, etc. Joint physical custody could be anything from 128 overnights a year to a 50/50 arrangement or any other type of arrangement that allows the child to spend a substantial amount of time with both parents. This form of child custody in Maryland is the most commonly granted by local courts and promotes children’s relationships with their parents.

Sole

Sole custody is when a child spends the majority of their time with one parent and the other parent has fewer than 128 overnights per year. For example, sole custody could mean that one parent has every other weekend with their kids, which is significantly less than 128 overnight visits.

Split

Split custody could mean that access to multiple children is divided between their parents. One child may be with one parent while the other child is with their other parent, and then they switch off. However, this arrangement is not favored by the local courts. Judges typically try to keep siblings together unless there is a reason not to, such as abuse or some other serious reason. Courts rarely elect to split up the children.

Third-party

Third-party custody is when someone other than a child’s parent gets physical or legal access. For instance, grandparents, stepparents, or other family members could be granted custody for a variety of reasons, and it is becoming more common.

If you still have questions about forms of child custody in Maryland, you should consider reaching out to our firm today for advice and legal counsel on what kind of arrangement could be most beneficial for your family.