Changing Existing Custody Orders in Maryland
Child Custody law and procedure varies greatly from state to state.
This information concerns Maryland custody law only.
The information on this page is General information only and is not meant to replace Legal Advice.
Maryland Family Law is drawn from the sources of the Maryland Code, Maryland Court Rules, and
Maryland Case Law.
The Maryland Family Law court system is complex and Maryland Family Law requires Judges to consider many
variables and laws before making a decision in each Family Law case.
Individual laws cannot be fully comprehended without understanding how they interact with each other and
within the elaborate Maryland Family Law Court system, and trying to interpret individual laws
without understanding how they each interact with each other and within this system could decrease the
chance of achieving an outcome favorable to you in your case.
It is in your best interest to consult an attorney with experience in Maryland Family Law courts
before agreeing to anything or signing anything regarding your Maryland divorce, custody, or domestic violence/abuse
In Maryland a "material" or "significant" "change in circumstances" which relates to the welfare of the child
is required for a change of an existing Custody Order (that is not a Temporary or pendente lite Order),
and any such
"material" or "significant" change must be weighed with maintaining the stability of the child's life.
Stability is preferred, however, it is not the only reason for requiring proof of a change in circumstances to
justify a modification of an existing Custody Order.   The other reason is to keep a litigious or
from relitigating Custody endlessly upon the same facts, hoping to find a Judge sympathetic to his or her
Maryland law is that an Order determining Custody must be given some finality, even though it may
subsequently be modified if/when changes are judged to be "significant" or "material" and also in
the best interest of the Child.
A "material" or "significant" "change of circumstances" is not required to change a Temporary Order
or a pendente lite Order for Custody.
Family Law varies from state to state.   There is NO presumption of JOINT Custody in Maryland.
Some states do have a rebuttable presumption of Joint Custody -- Maryland is NOT one of those
Although there are several
Maryland Family Courts must consider when deciding Custody cases in Maryland, there is no specific
weight or priority assigned to these Factors and there is no specific formula like there is for awarding child support.
The facts and circumstances of each particular case will be
The relevant case law in Maryland holds that "there is no such thing as a simple Custody case," that "custody
cases are like fingerprints because no two are exactly the same," and "that there is no
litmus test that provides a quick and easy answer to custody matters."