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Law Offices Of Dwight W. Clark L.L.C.
Law Offices Of Dwight W. Clark L.L.C.

Call Today to Schedule an Appointment

Local 410-505-8680 | Toll Free 888-523-6081

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Can a child decide which parent to live with in Maryland? 

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2023 | Child Custody |

When the marriage is over and the divorce is on the horizon, one of the most contentious issues the couple needs to resolve is the child’s post-divorce living arrangements. It is not uncommon for each party to want primary custody of the child. But what happens if the child would want to be part of the custody debate? 

There is no doubt that divorce can be a challenging time for everyone involved. During this period, parents may disagree on the ideal custody arrangement for the child, and the child might have something to say about it. 

Does the child’s input count during a Maryland child custody case?

Eventually, it is the responsibility of the court to allocate parental responsibilities and determine the child’s living arrangements. 

When it comes to the child’s input, Maryland is one of the many states that takes the child’s opinion into account when ruling on custody. In Maryland, a child who is at least 16 years can seek an audience with the court as far as their living arrangement is concerned. 

Even when the child makes their preference known, however, the court must take into account other factors. Here are some of these factors:

  • Why the child prefers to live with a particular parent
  • How this will impact the child’s life such as their school and specialized medical care, if they need this. 
  • Any existing agreements between the parents about custody
  • The willingness of the parents to change the custody situation
  • Any other considerations that the court may deem relevant to the best interests of the child

The court will also weigh whether the child is mentally, emotionally and intellectually capable of expressing themselves independently. If there is evidence that one parent manipulated or pressured the child into making custody demands, then their wishes will be overruled. 

Child custody can be a difficult subject, especially if divorce is contentious. Learning more about Maryland child custody laws can help you safeguard your rights and interests while determining your child’s post-divorce living arrangements.