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By: Paré & Associates, LLC

How Has Maryland’s Family Law Evolved to Address Modern Parenting and Co-Parenting Challenges?

Family Law

What Are the Most Common Modern Parenting and Co-Parenting Challenges?

When parents are faced with divorce, they often have to grapple with the challenge of providing quality care for their children while ensuring they spend quality care with them. Raising healthy, well-rounded, and happy children can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when the parents can’t agree on various parenting issues.

Courts understand that parenting and co-parenting challenges can arise after a divorce, but they maintain that the parents must uphold the child’s best interests. That’s why judges require divorcing parents to agree on how best to care for their children despite the separation. Lawyers from a Germantown and Silver Spring family law firm discuss how the law addresses parenting challenges such as:

  • Balancing career and family time
  • Ensuring children receive quality education
  • Long-distance parenting if parents live in different locations after a divorce
  • Communication issues after divorce
  • A culture of competition and blame among parents

How Does the Law Address Parenting and Co-Parenting Challenges?

Before issuing the final divorce decree, Maryland courts require divorcing spouses to submit a parenting plan. The plan can be based on collaborative divorce, negotiating with the other spouse, or a court-order plan that resolves the custody dispute.

As a father going through a divorce, you should focus on what’s best for your child when creating a parenting plan. Skilled Germantown and Silver Spring child custody lawyers can help you choose or create a parenting plan that works best for you and your children to protect your rights.

What is a Parenting Plan?

In Maryland, a divorce decree includes a child custody agreement, visitation schedule, and allocation of parental responsibilities combined into a parenting plan. You and your ex-spouse can fill up the parenting plan form, have it drafted by lawyers, or be ordered by the Maryland Family Court after trial. Either party that seeks modification to the plan must do so through the court.

A parenting plan provides clear guidelines on how divorced parents will handle their child-related issues. If well thought out and drafted, it can improve co-parenting by enhancing a collaborative partnership between the parents. Overall, a parenting plan reduces conflict and enables each parent to propose and consider solutions to parenting challenges that arise after a divorce.

What Are the Core Elements of a Parenting Plan?

Given that parenting plans have a uniform format, it becomes easier for court officers to understand family dynamics, making it easier to enforce the parenting schedule or request modifications where necessary. Child custody attorneys in Germantown and Silver Spring say that a parenting plan can be as flexible or detailed as needed.

Whichever approach you use, family law experts recommend that your parenting plan includes the following core elements:

Parental Responsibility and Decision-Making Authority

The law requires a parenting plan to address the issue of the parent in charge of making decisions about the child’s:

  • Education
  • Medicare care
  • Religious activities
  • Mental health
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Welfare

The parent with this authority has legal custody of the child and can make crucial decisions affecting the child’s life. You can choose to share these responsibilities with your ex-spouse or fight for sole legal custody based on what you consider to be the child’s best interests.

Parenting Time

Parenting time, also known as physical custody or visitation schedule, is a crucial aspect of parenting plans in Maryland. It lays out where your child will spend their time regularly. You can customize the best parenting time for your child to ensure it addresses your child’s best interests and your schedules as the child’s parents.

Germantown and Silver Spring child custody lawyers say that some standard parenting schedules that parents often choose from are:

  • The child stays with one parent during the school week and the other on weekends or alternate ones
  • Daytime-only visitation, which is often the case where the other parent’s home could be unsafe for the child or the child is an infant.
  • Switching homes every week with a pre-determined exchange day weekly
  • Rotating two-week schedules with alternating weekend and weekday parenting times for each parent

The plan you settle for should reflect each parent’s ability to spend time with the child when they’re in their care. The child’s age can also help determine the frequency of the exchanges between the parents.

A Communication System

Your parenting plan should include a solid communication plan between you and your ex-spouse for the sake of your child. Your communication methods should be reliable and easy to use, such as texting and emailing. Your preferred method should enable you to stay in touch with your child when they’re in the other parent’s care.

Be mindful of each other’s schedules; you don’t want to create unnecessary strife. It would also help to hold each other accountable for keeping in touch, if possible. The aim is to ensure the kids maintain a healthy and solid relationship with both parents.

A Skilled Child Custody Attorney Helping You Navigate Modern Parenting Challenges

Divorce can escalate the challenges of modern parenting and co-parenting. Maryland laws address the issue by requiring parents to work on a parenting plan. The agreement should be based on what works best to promote the child’s welfare and ensure they get the best from both parents. Skilled child custody attorneys in Germantown and Silver Spring can oversee the plan for the most favorable outcome.

If you’re going through a divorce and have a child custody battle, Pare & Associates, LLC has a team of skilled child custody attorneys who can guide you. We can evaluate your parenting plan to ensure it addresses the challenges that may arise in your parenting or co-parenting journey. Call us at 301-962-2492 to schedule a FREE case evaluation.