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What are the different kinds of child custody arrangements?

Parents who are going through a divorce or separation in Maryland may agree to one of a few different types of child custody arrangements. If the parents do not agree about child custody issues, a judge may order a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the children.

Sole custody is an arrangement where one parent has full legal and physical custody of their children. Children will only live with one parent, though the other parent might be granted visitation rights. When a parent has sole custody of their children, they will not be required to confer with the other parent about any major decisions in their children's lives. Parents with more than one child may also work out a split custody arrangement. If the parents have two children, split custody would mean that one parent has sole custody of one child and the other parent has sole custody of the other child.

Even if the children only live with one parent, the parents may agree to share legal custody of their children. Joint custody means that both parents will have an equal right to make decisions about their children's upbringing, health care and schooling. Parents may also share joint physical custody of their children. This means that children will spend at least 35 percent of their time living with each parent.

When parents do not see eye to eye on child custody issues, the disagreement can lead to a prolonged court battle that is very stressful for everyone involved. A parent who is going through this might want to have an attorney to represent their position at court hearings. Every family's case will involve unique variables so this information should not be confused with legal advice.

Source: Women's Law, "Custody", December 22, 2014

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