The Impact of Domestic Violence on Child Custody Decisions in Maryland

Divorce is a challenging and emotional process for everyone involved. However, when domestic violence is a factor, the stakes are even higher. The Montgomery County Child Custody Lawyers at the Law Offices of Tina Sharma understand the gravity of such situations and are committed to protecting the rights and well-being of domestic violence survivors and their children. This article will explore how domestic violence impacts child custody decisions in Maryland and the protective measures that can be implemented to safeguard the child.

Maryland Law on Domestic Violence

In Maryland, domestic violence includes an act that causes serious bodily harm or places one in fear of imminent bodily harm. The legal consequences for domestic violence can be severe and may include imprisonment, fines, and the issuance of a protective order. Under Maryland’s recent overhaul of grounds for divorce in Maryland, domestic violence is no longer a ground for divorce, but it is still considered when calculating relief, and can significantly impact child custody decisions.

The Best Interests of the Child Standard

In child custody cases, Maryland courts use the ‘best interests of the child’ standard to make decisions. This means that the court will consider various factors to determine what living situation and custody arrangement would be most beneficial for the child’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Some of the factors considered by the court include:

  • The fitness of each parent
  • The character and reputation of each parent
  • The preference of the child, when the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form a rational judgment
  • Any history of domestic violence

The Link Between Domestic Violence and Child Custody

Domestic violence is a significant factor in child custody decisions. Courts recognize that a parent who has a history of domestic violence may not be suitable to have sole or joint custody of a child. In cases where there is evidence of abuse, the court may deem it necessary to limit the abusive parent’s access to the child, order supervised visitation, or, in extreme cases, terminate parental rights. 

We are Here to Help

If you are a domestic violence survivor facing a child custody dispute, it is vital to seek legal support. The Law Offices of Tina Sharma are here to help. Contact us today to discuss your situation and learn how we can assist you in protecting your rights and the well-being of your children.

Contact our office today.