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Maryland legal community looks to improve child custody process

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Is change a good thing or a bad thing? It probably depends on who you ask, but it looks like several members of the Maryland legal community will be gathering with key decision makers to determine what types of changes may need to be considered in order to improve the approach to child custody in our state.

According to a recent report, a Commission on Child Custody Decision Making was created by the state legislature with the intent of analyzing how courts make decisions in determining child custody arrangements. The commission will also try to work out ways that decisions in these types of cases can be more fair and uniform throughout the state courts in Maryland.

In almost every state a judge making a ruling on child custody will consider a number of factors in answering the ultimate question: what are the best interests of the child? The factors vary depending on the state, but most judges will look at the relationships between the child and the parents, relationships with other family members, including siblings, the living arrangements at each parent's household and the child's wishes - if the child is old enough to have input. Once all of the factors are on the table, it is usually up to the judge to make a final decision.

If this new commission comes up with some changes that are intended to make things better for children at the center of a child custody dispute, no one will argue with the results. However, there is no doubt that many Maryland residents who are either in the middle of a custody dispute or who are looking into possibly pursuing a child custody modification will be watching the work of the commission closely.

Source: The Frederick News-Post, "Frederick County, Maryland attorneys to look at child custody changes," Danielle E. Gaines, Sept. 3, 2013

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