How is custody determined?

The Court determines custody based on what is in the best interest of the child. This determination depends entirely on the particular facts of each case.

The Court will consider many factors when deciding residential custody (where the child should reside): fitness of the parents, character and reputation of the parents, desire of the parents, any agreement between the parents, potential to maintain family relations, child’s preference, material opportunities affecting the child, age and health of the child, suitability of each parent’s homes, whether the non-custodial parent will have adequate opportunities for visitation, how long the child has been separated from a parent seeking custody, effect of any prior abandonment or surrender of custody of the child, and any other relevant fact.

In Maryland, there is no longer a maternal preference favoring mothers in custody cases.