Skip to Content


During a divorce or separation, a decision must be made regarding the custody of the children involved. This process is often a very complicated and emotional situation for the parents. A Maryland child custody lawyer can help you understand and navigate the process.

At the Law Office of Thomas E. Pyles, P.A., we handle child custody and visitation issues that arise during or after a divorce, including child custody and visitation modifications. We also handle custody and visitation cases in paternity cases involving unwed mothers and fathers. These issues can be highly volatile and you need an experienced Maryland child custody lawyer on your side. Contact the Law Office of Thomas E. Pyles, P.A. at 301-705-5006 to schedule a consultation today.


Maryland family law courts, first and foremost, consider what is in the best interest of the child when making a child custody determination. The court may award either joint or sole custody in the case and may also award visitation rights to a party. In Maryland, the courts consider numerous factors when considering a custody dispute. They include:

  • The fitness of the parents, which includes psychological and physical stability of each parent
  • The reputation and personal character of the parents
  • The ability of the parents to communicate and work well together
  • The requests of each parent and the sincerity of the request
  • Any agreements between the parties
  • Desire of the parents to preserve and maintain the child’s natural family
  • Each parent’s ability to maintain the child’s relationships with other parents, siblings, relatives and any other person who my psychologically effect the child’s best interests
  • The age and number of the children each parent has in the household
  • The preference of the child
  • Financial and material opportunities that may affect the lives of the children

Maryland courts have a strong inclination to award joint custody. However, if that is to be maintained, the parents must demonstrate:

  • The ability to communicate and reach shared decisions regarding the child’s welfare
  • The willingness of the parents to share custody
  • The fitness of the parents
  • Relationship established between the child and each parent
  • The preference of the child
  • Potential disruption of the child’s social and school life
  • Geographic proximity of the parental homes
  • Demands of parental employment
  • Age and number of the children
  • Sincerity of the parent’s request

The court will consider any other factor that is relevant to the specific case at hand. Maryland child custody lawyer, Thomas E. Pyles, will help his clients build a compelling argument in favor of custody supported by the legally appropriate and relevant factors that are in their favor.


Both are legal terms used to describe distinct situations. Joint legal custody is when both parties are required to work together in the major decision making processes of the upbringing of the minor child. That would include religious preferences, education, health, and extracurricular activities. In this agreement both parties stand on equal footing under the law and have equal rights to be involved in the daily and overall aspects of the child’s life.

Joint physical custody means that both parties will share equal access of the minor child. Generally there is a primary physical custodial parent who will have the child most of the time. But, the parties are free to work out various parental access plans. The courts will act in the best interest of the minor child when deciding who shall act as the primary custodian. When the parties cannot agree on a parental access plan, the court will reflect on how the parties have split time previously which can be continued if it is working in the best interest of the child.

Let Our Waldorf Child Custody Attorneys Help You Find a Solution

At the Law Office of Thomas E. Pyles, P.A., we have over 25 years of experience with child custody cases and we understand how delicate and emotionally difficult these proceedings can be. We will fight diligently for the best interests of you and your children while doing our best to protect all of you from the emotional trauma of divorce and separation. If you need a Maryland child custody lawyer, contact the Law Office of Thomas E. Pyles, P.A. today at 301-705-5006 to schedule a consultation. We have offices in Waldorf, Laurel and Leonardtown.