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When you have a child with someone in Maryland and the relationship between you and the other parent ends, you may need to come up with a custody arrangement that serves both of your needs. If you and your former partner are unable to agree on custody or parenting time terms, you may need the state to devise an arrangement on your behalf.

Per the Maryland Courts, if you and your ex are unable to come to an agreement on parenting time, the next step typically involves scheduling a custody trial.

How custody trials work

During your custody trial, which takes place in front of either a judge or a magistrate, rather than a jury, you, and, if applicable, your legal representation, appear before the judge or magistrate and make your case for custody and parenting time. Your ex and his or her representation do the same. Professionals who have an inside look at your situation may also appear during the trial to provide background information or professional opinions. Like most trials, the custody trial then involves each side making opening statements, submitting evidence and then giving a closing argument.

What outcomes you might expect

At the end of your custody trial, a judge or magistrate may decide to award you, your ex or both of you custody and parenting time. If you disagree with the outcome of your custody case, you maintain the right to ask someone to review it.

Every child custody case is different. However, what holds true in all cases is that the judge or magistrate presiding over the case makes decisions he or she feels are in the best interests of the child at the center of the matter.