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West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland RulesEffective: [See Text Amendments] to June 30, 2024

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 9. Family Law Actions
Chapter 200. Divorce, Annulment, Alimony, Child Support, and Child Custody (Refs & Annos)
Effective: [See Text Amendments] to June 30, 2024
MD Rules, Rule 9-204.1
<Text of Rule 9-204.1 effective until June 30, 2024. See, also, Rule 9-204.1 effective July 1, 2024.>
(a) Definitions. The following definitions apply, except as expressly otherwise provided or as necessary implication requires:
(1) Decision-Making Authority (Legal Custody). Decision-Making Authority, also called legal custody, refers to how major long-term decisions about a child's medical care, mental health, education, religious training, and extracurricular activities are made.
(2) Parenting Plan. Parenting Plan means a written agreement about how parties will work together to take care of a child.
(3) Parenting Time (Physical Custody). Parenting Time, also called physical custody, refers to where a child lives and the amount of time he or she spends with each party.
(b) Introduction of Parenting Plan. At the parties' first appearance in court on a decision-making authority or parenting time matter, the court shall provide to each party a paper copy of the Maryland Parenting Plan Instructions and Maryland Parenting Plan Tool and direct them to an electronic version of these documents. The court shall advise the parties that they may work separately, together, or with a mediator to develop a parenting plan they believe is in the best interest of their child.
(c) Best Interest of the Child. In determining what decision-making authority and parenting time arrangement is in the best interest of the child, the parties may consider the following factors:
(1) Stability and the foreseeable health and welfare of the child;
(2) Frequent, regular, and continuing contact with parties who can act in the child's best interest;
(3) Whether and how parties who do not live together will share the rights and responsibilities of raising the child;
(4) The child's relationship with each party, any siblings, other relatives, and individuals who are or may become important in the child's life;
(5) The child's physical and emotional security and protection from conflict and violence;
(6) The child's developmental needs, including physical safety, emotional security, positive self-image, interpersonal skills, and intellectual and cognitive growth;
(7) The day-to-day needs of the child, including education, socialization, culture and religion, food, shelter, clothing, and mental and physical health;
(8) How to:
(A) place the child's needs above the parties' needs;
(B) protect the child from the negative effects of any conflict between the parties; and
(C) maintain the child's relationship with the parties, siblings, other relatives, or other individuals who have or likely may have a significant relationship with the child;
(9) Age of the child;
(10) Any military deployment of a party and its effect, if any, on the parent-child relationship;
(11) Any prior court orders or agreements;
(12) Each party's role and tasks related to the child and how, if at all, those roles and tasks have changed;
(13) The location of each party's home as it relates to their ability to coordinate parenting time, school, and activities;
(14) The parties' relationship with each other, including:
(A) how they communicate with each other;
(B) whether they can co-parent without disrupting the child's social and school life; and
(C) how the parties will resolve any disputes in the future without the need for court intervention;
(15) The child's preference, if age-appropriate; and
(16) Any other factor deemed appropriate by the parties.
(d) No Agreement Reached. If the parties do not reach a comprehensive parenting plan, they shall complete a Joint Statement of the Parties Concerning Decision-Making Authority and Parenting Time pursuant to Md. Rule 9-204.2.
Source: This Rule is new.


[Adopted Nov. 19, 2019, eff. Jan. 1, 2020.]
MD Rules, Rule 9-204.1, MD R FAM LAW ACT Rule 9-204.1
Current with amendments received through February 1, 2024. Some sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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