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Is there an automatic right for the mother to have primary custody in Maryland?

No, there is no maternal preference. Neither parent is given preference solely because of their sex. Parents are considered joint natural guardians of their children.  In determining custody, the Court must decide what is in the child's best interests.  The Court does this by considering a number of factors, some of which include the following:

1) Capacity of the parents to communicate and to reach share decisions affecting the child’s welfare
2) Willingness of the parents to share custody
3) Fitness of the parents
4) Relationship established between the child and each parent
5) Preferences of the child
6) Potential disruption of the child’s social and school life
7) Geographic proximity of the parental homes
8) Demands of parental employment
9) Age and the number of the children
10) Sincerity the parents request
11) Financial status of the parents
12) Impact on state or federal assistance
13) Benefit to parents and
14) Other factors that the Court deems relevant and appropriate 

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