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What Is Legal Custody in Maryland?

Legal Custody

In Maryland, there are two types of child custody: legal and physical. Legal custody in Maryland, refers to the parents’ ability to make major life decisions, such as medical, educational, and religious choices, for the child/children. In many states, courts regularly award joint legal custody, which means that the decision regarding the minor child/children is shared by both parents.

Sole Legal Custody in Maryland

Sole legal custody is when one parent can make legal custody decisions for the child/children without any input from the child’s other parent, but still has a duty to inform the other parent about the decisions that have been made. It is important for both parents to be fully informed about these important issues.

Joint Legal Custody in Maryland

Joint legal custody is when both parents have to work together to make a legal custody decision, such as whether or not your child should attend private school or take medication for their mental health condition. If parents have joint legal custody, neither parent can override the other. Parents may choose to attend mediation to discuss the issue with a neutral mediator before seeking court intervention to resolve the issue, which can be expensive and take many months for a resolution.

Joint Legal Custody in Maryland with Tie-Breaking Authority

It is also possible for parents to have joint legal custody with one parent having tie-breaking authority in the event they are unable to reach a joint legal custody decision. Therefore, if after the parents have discussed whether or not a child should get braces, but are unable to decide, the parent with tie-breaking authority gets the final say.

If you leave the legal custody decisions to the court, they will do so according to the “best interests of the child” set forth in Maryland law. However, you and your co-parent know what is best for your child, so it is recommended that you agree on legal custody for your children by talking it out or attending Mediation.

If you have questions regarding legal custody of your minor child/children, schedule a consultation or call us at 443-741-1147. At Jacobson Family Law, an experienced attorney will ensure you have the information and resources needed to understand the law and assist you in making an informed decision in the best interest of you and your family.