Maryland Courts

Maryland Commission on
Child Custody Decision Making

The Maryland Commission on Child Custody Decision Making was formed pursuant to HB687 during the 2013 legislative session.

The Commission will study all aspects of child custody decision-making in Maryland, including the principles governing it, and current practice and processes. The study will encompass how to make child custody orders and modifications fairer, more uniform, and equitable; reduce litigation in child custody proceedings; promote and ensure children's continued relationships with both parents; and maximize involvement of both parents in a child's life. Further, the Commission will consider how the Court may mitigate adverse effects of child custody litigation, as well as the advantages, disadvantages, and impact on children of joint physical custody. In addition, the Commission is to evaluate the governing statutes in other states, and consider whether Maryland law needs a statute specific to child custody decisions.

Other issues related to child custody to be considered by the Commission include: whether gender discrimination exists in custody decisions, and if so, how to address it; the role of case management systems; training programs currently available to judges; how domestic violence proceedings and interventions affect custody determinations; and whether language can be standardized for custody determinations. Finally, the Commission is to gather quantitative data on total number and disposition of contested custody cases, and the availability of pro bono legal resources to petitioners and respondents.

The Commission will meet in various locations around the state during 2013-2014. The first meeting will be in Annapolis on September 12, 2013.