In a divorce, the two most commonly contested issues are those pertaining to money and child custody. It is difficult to come to a positive and workable solution to these matters, even when two parents commit to reaching an out-of-court settlement. One of the ways that Maryland parents work to minimize the negative impact that a divorce can have on the children is by establishing a joint custody agreement.
Joint custody may offer many benefits for your children, including the ability to maintain strong relationships with both parents, even after a divorce. If you believe that this type of custody plan is the smartest option for your family, you will find it beneficial to work with an experienced family law attorney regarding a strong, workable plan.
The elements of a strong joint custody plan
A joint custody plan means that the children will get to spend a significant amount of time with both parents, but that does not necessarily mean that the parents will share exactly equal parenting time. In a joint custody plan, there must be consideration of the following elements:
- Physical custody: This refers to the actual time that a child will spend with his or her parents. Physical custody dictates arrangements pertaining to vacation, summer break, holidays, weekend visitation and more.
- Legal custody: Legal custody refers to the right of the parent to make important decisions on behalf of the children. This includes decisions about health care, education and more. One parent may retain legal custody, or both parents may share this responsibility.
How a joint custody arrangement should look for your family will depend on your unique circumstances and the needs of your children. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but through negotiations, discussions and other means of resolving disputes, you can reach a solution that is workable for your family for years to come.
A peaceful post-divorce future for your family
While it may seem difficult at the time, it is possible to reach an agreement that lays the foundation for a strong and peaceful post-divorce future for you and your family. When a custody order is clearly worded and thoughtful, it may help you avoid potential problems and eliminate disputes.
If you believe that your family could benefit from a joint custody plan, you would be wise to discuss this option with an experienced family law attorney who can help you make decisions that protect both your parental rights and the best interests of your children.