Not every marriage in Maryland is meant to last. When parents in Maryland decide to divorce, one of their primary concerns may be child custody and visitation. Maryland courts have a process that is followed when it comes to making child custody decisions. It is important that parents understand this process, so they can protect their rights.
The first step in a child custody case is the scheduling conference. The couple will meet with one another at the courthouse. A judge will assist the couple in identifying which issues are being contested. The judge may refer the couple to undergo mediation and the couple may need to attend a co-parenting course. The scheduling conference will also outline what deadlines will be followed in the child custody case.
Following the scheduling conference is a pre-trial settlement conference. The couple will again meet with one another, and the judge will assist them in negotiating a settlement on their child custody and visitation issues. If there are issues that are left unsettled, the judge will inform the parents about the trial process.
Finally, any remaining unresolved child custody and visitation issues will be resolved at a trial. At the trial, the court makes the decision on how child custody will be divided between the parties. This includes both legal custody and physical custody. Financial support for the child will also be determined at a trial. The standard used in making these decisions is the "best interests of the child." Of course, this is only a general outline of the process courts in Maryland follow when it comes to child custody and visitation issues. The trajectory of your specific case may differ.