Co-Parenting in Maryland: Joint Custody Tips for Divorced Parents

Co-parent with confidence by using our Free Co-parenting App - Start Now

Custody in Maryland

In Maryland, parental custody is either joint or sole custody. In joint custody cases, both parents have legal custody of the child, while in sole custody cases one parent is either the sole custodial parent or the legal guardian of the child. When making a determination regarding child custody, the court considers the child's best interests. Factors such as the child's age, the mental and physical health of each parent, the ability of each parent to care for the child, the degree of love and attachment between the child and each parent, the child's established living environment and its interruption, each parent's willingness to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent, and the child's preference (if the child is old enough) are all considered.


Child Support in Maryland

When there is a court-ordered custody arrangement in Maryland, it may also include an order to provide ‘child support’. Child support is a payment made by one parent to the other to provide financial support for the needs of the child. The amount of child support is generally guided by a formula found in Maryland Code Ann., Family Law § 12-201.


This formula presents a series of factors that are used to calculate the amount of support awarded by the court. These factors include both parent’s income, the number of children, expenses related to health care, day care and any other expenses related to the minor child. Child support payments are designed to supplement the custodial parent’s resources, allowing them to provide for the basics needs of the child.


Co-Parenting Expenses in Maryland

While child support payments provide financial support for the custodial parent, there are often additional expenses necessary when both parents are involved in a child’s life. These expenses can include things like transportation costs for transporting the child for visitation, medical costs not covered by insurance, and educational expenses. In Maryland, there is no legal obligation for the non-custodial parent to contribute to these expenses; however, it is quite common for parents to agree to split them.


Parental Rights, Decisions, and Parenting Plans in Maryland

When there is a court-ordered custody arrangement in Maryland, the court will typically determine parental rights and responsibilities. Parental rights are the authority that a parent has over their child, while parental responsibilities are the duties associated with this authority. These decisions can include anything from where the child will attend school, to where the child will receive medical care, to which parent will be the primary decision-maker for the child. In Maryland, it is also common for parents to meet with attorneys to create a parenting plan, which is a legally binding agreement that outlines the responsibilities of each parent.


Visitation Rights in Maryland

Visitation rights in Maryland dictate the times during which a non-custodial parent may visit with their child. Generally, the court will use a standard visitation schedule and modify it to meet the needs of the child and the family. Alternatively, parents and their child(ren) often come up with their own schedule, which can be approved by the court.


Visitation includes any activity or communication the parent and the child have together, including physical contact, telephone contact, and electronic contact. In most cases, the court will require that the adult responsible for visitation supervise it at all times. Additionally, courts often allow visits to be supervised by a third-party, in cases where one or both parents have been noted to have a pattern of neglect or abuse.


Mediation in Maryland

In some cases, parents seek mediation to negotiate parenting agreements and visitation plans. Mediation is one way to resolve disputes without the time, expense, and risk of going to court. In Maryland, mediators are typically individuals with training in family mediation, social work, law, or psychology. During the mediation process, a trained mediator serves as a neutral third-party and helps the parents reach an agreement that works for all involved. Mediation sessions are typically held in the office of the mediator (although in some cases, they can be held remotely) and the mediator is responsible for ensuring that both parents are given the opportunity to make their case.


Before making any decisions regarding your parenting plan, it is important to consult with an attorney and make sure to stay abreast of changes in the law and court orders that may affect your parenting plan. This is especially important for co-parenting in Maryland, as the state does not have uniform, mandatory co-parenting laws. Understanding the law is key to protecting yourself and your children in the event of any disagreement.


Fact Check and Resources

In crafting this post, we conducted thorough fact-checking and research, consulting the following sources:


Co-parenting in USA


Co-parenting in Canada




Warning:  This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.

Thousands of co-parents worldwide have successfully managed custody schedules, shared children's expenses, and communication with Cent.

Get Started Today