During the divorce process, in addition to many other details, divorcing parents also face negotiations around child support and child custody. Maryland couples experiencing an amicable divorce will likely encounter few, if any, conflicts around custody and support details. However, unfortunately, many divorces involve conflict, and in this case, divorcing parents are wise to include in their agreement many specific details pertaining to their child(ren) moving forward. An expert suggests several factors divorcing parents should consider (and sometimes overlook) when working on an agreement.
House rules and extracurricular activities
For one, divorcing parents should think about whether they need to include details concerning daily decision-making autonomy. For example, parents may agree to keep house rules regarding the children consistent across both homes, or they may decide that each will maintain his or her own set of rules. Another point of negotiation may be around extracurricular activities, which may take place any time during the week. Parents should decide what will happen if one parent signs a child up for a sport, for example, but practices often take place during the other parent’s time.
Holidays, family events and new partners
Often, divorcing parents focus on negotiating the weekly schedule, but forget to consider holiday time. It is important to decide on details such as which holidays the child will spend with each parent, as well as at what point the regular custody schedule resumes post-holiday. As well, some parents may want to include details around special family events, such as weddings and funerals, as these occasions may land at times outside that parent’s usual time, yet may be important for a child to attend. Finally, many divorcing parents negotiate details concerning introduction of a new partner. Points to consider may include length of time before introducing the new person to the child and/or whether the other parent will be notified prior to an introduction.
Although many Maryland divorcing parents may find some difficulty discussing and agreeing on so many of these custody details, in the end, all parents simply want what is best for their child. Parents who invest the work and time into negotiating a detailed parenting plan will likely minimize future conflict, thereby helping to ensure a brighter future for everyone involved. An attorney experienced in family law can assist divorcing parents with child custody issues, as well as all aspects of the divorce process.