The Maryland Court determines custody based on the standard of best interest of the child. When it comes to deciding custody, many factors are considered by the court: fitness of the parents, character and reputation of the parents, desire of the parents, any agreements between the parents, potential to maintain familial relations, child’s preference, material opportunities affecting the child, child’s age and health, suitability of the parental homes, whether the non-custodial parent will have reasonable visitation, how long the child has been separated from a parent, any prior abandonment or surrender of the child, or any other relevant facts.
Legal custody is the right to make decisions regarding matters of major significance in a minor child’s life. A parent with legal custody shall make decisions about the child’s health, education, religion, and general welfare. A Court may grant the parents joint legal custody, especially if the parents can demonstrate the ability to communicate. The Court may also grant one party to act as the “tie-breaker” or appoint a parent coordinator if the parents cannot work together for their children’s best interest.