Maryland Courts

Family Law Information

Child Custody and Visitation

Custody and visitation decisions may be made as part of a divorce.

Child custody and visitation decisions are based on establishing an arrangement that is in the best interest of the children. There is no exhaustive list of factors that the court will use when determining custody. Instead, the court considers the “totality of circumstances” surrounding the care of the child.

Once the court has determined custody or visitation, the parent with custody is presumed to be acting in the best interest of the child. Other parties, including grandparents, may petition the court to change custody or visitation, but it takes a finding of extraordinary circumstances or unfitness of the custodial parent to override their objections.

Parties in custody and visitation disputes may be required to participate in mediation before their cases go to trial. Local court family divisions may have additional services available for self-represented parties. Forms are available at the link above.