Wednesday, 09 October 2013 17:57

Governor Authorizes Commission on Child Custody Decision Making

    In July 2013, Governor O’Malley authorized a commission to review the current Maryland child custody system and to make recommendations for reforms to provide better outcomes for children and their families. The Commission is comprised of attorneys and legal leaders in Maryland such as Judges, Delegates, Senators, and Psychologists.

    Currently Maryland does not have a statute that lays out the factors to be considered when making child custody decisions. Instead, Judges must rely on case law. The Commission will analyze how custody decisions are being made and study how to make them more uniform and fair.


    Additionally, the Commission is required to study the adverse effects of custody litigation on children and how to minimize them; how to maximize the involvement of both parents in the lives of their children; the pros and cons of joint physical custody; and to evaluate the governing statutes in other states, and consider whether Maryland law needs a statute specific to child custody decisions. Gender discrimination, current case management systems, training for judges, and the effects of domestic violence on custody determinations will also be reviewed. By the end of this year, the Commission is to have held five hearings around the State to encourage public input and participation concerning child custody decision-making in Maryland.

     What will this mean for families facing custody disputes? If the guidelines set forth in the current case law are codified, the courts, legal community, and families will have clear factors for determining custody issues, which could streamline litigation making custody litigation less costly, both emotionally and financially for parents and their children.


Mailing Address

Geraldine Welikson Hess, Esq
Hess Family Law
451 Hungerford Dr,
Suite 119-307
Rockville, Maryland 20850

Geraldine Welikson Hess, Esq
Hess Family Law
344 Maple Ave West,
Suite 355
Vienna, Virginia 22180

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Rockville, Maryland 20850
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