Just because you decided to divorce does not mean you are abdicating your rights as a parent. Like most good parents in Maryland, your children's best interests are no doubt your highest priority as you prepare to negotiate a divorce settlement and parenting plan. There is no reason you have to sit back and let chips fall where they may regarding your custody and visitation schedule. You have a voice and may use it to protect your rights and what you believe is best for your kids.
If you believe it's best to designate a neutral drop off location as the meeting place when your children transfer to the other parent's home, you can submit this request to the court. You don't have to cave in to pressure from your former spouse to drive the kids to a particular house or a random convenience store or parking lot. Understanding your rights and knowing what type of support is available to help you achieve your parenting plan goals ahead of time may help you avoid major problems down the line.
Tips to help you secure a visitation plan that meets your needs
If your former spouse frequently tries to provoke you to argue in front of your kids, or uses kid transfer times to incite you to anger, you may want to make sure you include a neutral drop-off point in your parenting plan. The following ideas may apply to your situation as well:
- There are often official neutral drop off sites in Maryland and other states. Some such sites provide monitoring with surveillance cameras, and may even exist on police department properties.
- The Division of Children and Family Services in your area or an experienced family law attorney can help you locate the nearest official neutral drop off station in your region.
- Getting everything in writing as part of your court order can help you avoid major problems. This includes not only the drop off location, but also a backup location to use in emergencies, as well as other specifications, such as backup transportation if a parent is unable to drive, who pays for transportation, etc.
- All parties involved must adhere to existing court orders. This means your former spouse can't suddenly stop showing up at the designated meeting place without first obtaining court approval. Doing so leaves him or her at risk for being in contempt of court.
The main factors in all custody and visitation situations are that you protect your rights as a parent and make sure all situations align with your children's best interests. If anything happens to undermine your rights or impede your children's safety or well-being, you can take immediate action to rectify the situation.
What can be done?
Many Maryland parents keep contact information for experienced family law attorneys readily available for quick access when legal problems arise regarding custody, visitation or any other post-divorce matters.