Last week, the newly formed Maryland Chapter of the AFCC held their first
conference, focusing on the topic "Maryland Child Custody at a Crossroads" and discussed the work of the Maryland Commission on Child Custody Decision-Making. You can read more about the Commission here and here. At the end of 2014, the Commission issued a report, you can read
The symposium discussed the Commission's recommendation, which included these guiding principles: importance of statute, no presumed schedule, increased judicial training in a variety
of areas, using gender neutral and non-discriminatory terms, more alternate dispute resolution
incorporated, statewide services increased, standard rule for expedited and emergency hearings, requiring the parties to submit parenting plan proposal, explore dedicated family court, consider civil right to counsel, implement statewide policies regarding mediation.
The Commission did not have a consensus on presumption of joint custody, whether domestic violence victims should be allowed to participate in court ordered mediation, and whether there should be a standard regarding disabled parents.
Finally, the symposium concluded with an overview of the legislative process and a request from Del. Kathleen Dumais to become involved in the process, especially those who have an interest in having a custody factors statute in the Maryland for the first time!