Child Visitation in Maryland

In the state of Maryland, the law does not offer any guidance as to who should get custody in most cases, other than requiring the judge to make a decision in the best interest of the child.  This means that a judge may decide that one parent shall have sole legal custody, and the other party shall, therefore, be considered a non-custodial parent.  On the other hand, the judge may decide that it is in the best interests of the child for the parties to have joint physical custody.

In the state of Maryland, joint physical custody means that the child spends time living with both parents and must live with each parent no less than 35 percent of the time.  In other words, the child can live with the father 65 percent of the time and mother 35 percent of the time.  If the child lives with one parent more than 65 percent of the time, this will not be considered a joint custody situation, and that can have an impact on how child support is calculated in Maryland.

If one party has sole physical custody, or primary physical custody, the other party will be granted a right to have visitation with the child.  Pursuant to Tile 9 of the Maryland Code, unless there is proof of abuse or neglect on behalf of the non-custodial parent, he or she is generally entitled to have unsupervised visitation with his or her child as often as the judge deems to be in the best interest of the child.  As our Prince George’s County child visitation attorney can explain, many peer-reviewed studies show it is in the best interest of a child to have a full relationship with both parents, if possible.  The court is aware of these studies and will generally decide that significant visitation is in the best interests of your child.

Supervised Visitation in Maryland Family Law Cases

Even though unsupervised visitation is the standard finding in child visitation cases in places like Howard County, Maryland, and there is presumption in favor of unsupervised visitation, the court has the power to order supervised visitation if the circumstances so require.  In some cases, the judge will have no choice but to order supervised visitation on a temporary basis.

Supervised visitation can occur under the supervision of a designated person selected by the parties, or it can be held at an official supervised visitation facility.

Denial of Visitation

In some extreme cases, the court can deny a parent’s request for visitation if the court has reasonable grounds to believe the child has been abused or neglected by the requesting parent. However, even in this situation, the court can order supervised visitation, and this is likely what would happen in a typical case.   However, every case is different, as the facts are never the same, and you should speak with an experienced child visitation attorney about how the law will apply to your actual situation.

The family law attorneys at DiPietro & Wise, LLC have years of experience handling domestic relations cases in jurisdictions across Northern Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland. Contact us to schedule a consultation today at (301) 970-9286.

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