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Does lengthy divorce wait impact child custody issues?

For many Maryland parents, one of the most stressful aspects of a divorce is figuring out how to share the joys and responsibilities of parenting. It is not uncommon for spouses to spend the bulk of their negotiating time and effort on child custody matters. As multiple states wrangle with the issue of mandatory waiting periods for divorce, parents should consider how such restrictions might impact their own custody path.

One southern state recently rejected proposed legislation that would serve to reduce the mandatory waiting period for a divorce from one year to six months. Many lawmakers assert that longer waiting periods can save marriages. Viewed from a different perspective, however, lengthy waiting periods can also complicate child custody issues.

Ironing out a custody arrangement can be a challenge even between parents where there is not a significant amount of contention. Left to work things out over a period of many months, however, spouses will often move on to new relationships. That can introduce a whole new element into child custody negotiations, as new partners weigh in. For many parents, there mere idea of their spouse's boyfriend or girlfriend having a say in the process can bring negotiations to a halt.

For Maryland parents who are considering divorce, it can be helpful to stay abreast of the issue of mandatory waiting periods. Laws change from time to time, and being caught unaware is never a good position. The best way to attain a favorable child custody outcome is to go into the process fully informed of all conditions that could impact the negotiations. Mandatory waiting periods definitely fall into that category.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Shortened Divorce Wait Fails to Get Louisiana House Support", Melinda Deslatte, April 25, 2017

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