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Is Maryland a 50/50 Custody State?

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When starting the process of discussing child custody with their co-parent, people often have a range of questions about how Maryland law impacts their rights and the custody schedule they should expect. One such question is whether Maryland is a 50/50 custody state and what that entails. Let’s explore Maryland’s legal framework for child custody and tips for navigating a 50/50 custody schedule. When facing a custody dispute, always seek legal help from a law firm like Petrelli Previtera that can defend and fight for your rights.

The Legal Framework in Maryland

The first step toward understanding Maryland’s stance on the 50/50 custody model is to familiarize yourself with the state-specific laws regarding child custody.

In Maryland, family law statutes and court rules govern child custody and visitation matters. The state does not assume or presume a 50/50 custody arrangement. Instead, the court considers multiple factors to make a decision centered around the child’s best interests.

What Does the “Best Interest of the Child” Mean in Maryland?

This phrase is a legal standard that guides the court’s decision-making process. A few examples of things the court considers include:

  • The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
  • The ability of the parents to communicate and reach shared decisions that affect the child’s welfare

The primary motive is to reduce the emotional impact of divorce or separation on children and ensure a healthy upbringing.

The Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody in Maryland

Maryland, like most states, defines legal and physical custody very differently.

  • Legal Custody: the right to make important decisions on behalf of the child, including educational, spiritual, and health-related choices.
  • Physical Custody: this pertains to where the child will live.

Of note, one parent can have sole legal custody of the child while physical custody can be split between both parents, depending on the circumstances.

Is Maryland a 50/50 Custody State?

The straightforward answer to this question is – no. Maryland does not automatically adhere to a 50/50 custody arrangement. The state courts concentrate on the well-being of the child, among many other factors, when determining what custody arrangement is best.

However, 50/50 custody is entirely possible in Maryland. If the parents agree on a 50/50 custody schedule shown to be in the best interest of the child, the court may agree to this arrangement.

Impact of Custody on Child Support and the 50/50 Custody Scenario in Maryland

In Maryland, the question of child support often interlaces with custody issues. Child support is a financial obligation, paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent, aimed at covering the child’s day-to-day expenses. While the amount of support is generally determined by the income of both parents, the custody arrangement can significantly influence this.

In the event of a 50/50 custody situation, Maryland law doesn’t automatically exempt either parent from paying child support. The state applies an ‘Income Shares Model’ for calculating child support where both parents’ incomes are considered. Even under joint physical custody, if there’s a substantial disparity in the parents’ incomes, the parent earning more might still be obligated to pay child support to the other.

Several factors can impact the final decision, including the actual time spent with the child, additional expenses related to the child’s healthcare, education, special needs, and more. Your attorney will be able to talk with you about how Maryland law may be applied to your situation.

Looking for more Information? Download our FREE Guide “Parenting Through Divorce”

The Custody Process in Maryland

Beginning a custody case in Maryland involves filing a complaint or petition for custody in the appropriate court. Attorneys, mediators, and other professionals may be involved at this point. Mediation and negotiation play crucial roles during custody discussions by encouraging parents to come to an amicable agreement without court intervention whenever possible.

When an agreement cannot be reached, the matter proceeds to a court hearing where a judge will make a final determination based on the evidence presented.

Tips for Navigating a 50/50 Custody Schedule

Successfully managing a 50/50 custody arrangement requires effective planning and open communication between all parties involved. Establish a consistent routine to ensure stability for the child and enable a smooth transition between homes. Make sure to collaborate on co-parenting decisions and keep the focus on the child’s best interests in all discussions.

Get Answers From Petrelli Previtera

While Maryland does not presume a 50/50 custody arrangement, it is not out of the question in cases where this arrangement serves the best interest of the child. The state’s primary focus is protecting the child’s welfare and ensuring their emotional and physical needs are met. If you are facing a custody dispute, reach out to Petrelli Previtera for an appointment. Our legal team will help you navigate your Maryland custody cases and answer  any questions you may have. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get started on finding a favorable custody arrangement for you and your family.

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