In Maryland, judges are frequently tasked with making child custody determinations. It’s often said to be one of the hardest jobs tasked to a judge because of how important their decision is to the parents and children involved. In rendering their decision, judges are guided by the standard of the “best interests of the child.”
Each case presents different facts and circumstances which the court must consider in making a custody determination. However, there are certain factors which Maryland law provides that the court must consider in determining the best interests of the child. These factors were originally set forth in the case of Montgomery County v. Sanders and include the following:
Subsequently, in the case of Taylor v. Taylor, Maryland’s highest court – the Court of Appeals of Maryland – set forth additional factors which courts are to consider in awarding joint custody. These factors include:
Taken together, the factors set forth in the Sanders and Taylor cases often overlap and supplement one another. Indeed, in many cases, the court may find that certain factors do not apply or carry much weight (i.e. the preference of the child if the child is an infant), while other factors are particularly relevant and convincing. As the Taylor Court aptly summarized, “the best interest of the child is therefore not considered as one of many factors, but as the objective to which virtually all other factors speak.” Taylor, 306 Md. 290, 303, 508 A.2d 964, 970 (1986).
Custody cases involve many considerations and have consequences that will shape the lives of the parents and child involved. The law firm of Greenberg Legal Group LLC is here to guide you through that process. Contact our office at (410) 673-4888 to learn more about how we can help you.