As we discussed in our previous Blog: What Is Legal Custody in Maryland?, there are two types of child custody: legal and physical. Now we will cover, What Is Physical Custody in Maryland? Physical custody refers to the time-sharing arrangement between parents. In some cases, a parent may have sole or primary physical custody with the other parent having visitation, or the parents may have shared physical custody.
Sole Physical Custody in Maryland
In Maryland, the term “sole” or “primary” physical custody is when one parent has the child(ren) with them more than seventy-five percent (75%) of the overnights throughout the year and the other parent, or “non-custodial” parent, has the child(ren) less than twenty-five percent (25%) of the overnights. In some rare and extenuating circumstances, a parent may have even more limited or supervised visitation with a child.
Shared Physical Custody in Maryland
Shared physical custody is when physical custody is shared between both parents. Both parties have at least a minimum of 92 overnights (or 25% of the year) and both contribute to the expenses of the child(ren) in addition to any award of child support.
As you decide and agree on a custodial access schedule for your minor child(ren), you should consider how involved each parent has been with the child before the separation and your child’s temperament. In most situations, children do best when both parents are actively involved in their lives with regular and consistent access. Additionally, the custody schedule should be well balanced with the minor child/children being able to form strong and secure attachments to both parents.
Why It is Best to Reach a Custody Agreement with Your Child’s Other Parent
If you and your child’s other parent cannot reach an agreement concerning the custody of your child(ren), it will be up to a Judge to determine the custody schedule. Reaching a custody agreement is more beneficial because:
• A judge doesn’t know you, your child’s other parent, or your child(ren) as well as you do
• Child custody trials can take up to 2 years or more to be finalized and can cost tens of thousands of dollars
• Your child(ren) are often dragged into the middle of your court battle, even in the best of circumstances
• Court proceedings are public record and anyone interested can learn about your private details
• It has been proven that coming to a mutual agreement concerning child custody ensures parents are more likely to comply with the terms.
You and your child’s other parent can negotiate the terms of a child custody agreement either directly with one another, through your attorneys, or in 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.