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Child custody issues: Shared parenting continuing to gain support

Shared parenting has been a hot topic among divorcing couples with children in Maryland, elsewhere in the country and even around the world. Child custody issues in a divorce are typically among the more hotly debated, since many emotions are involved concerning one's children. Now, many states are recommending that courts start the child custody discussions with the assumption that the children's time will be equally split between the two parents.

This is a far cry from the traditional approach by the courts, where one parent, typically the mother, had primary custody. The other parent would get visitation rights for every other weekend and some holidays. Family experts, however, recognized that children coped better with their parent's split and with life in general when they spent significant time with each parent. More than 60 studies have been cited that support the shared parenting concept.

While several states now start with the presumption of a 50/50 arrangement in custody cases, the courts continue to have the ability to adjust this as needed. The driving factor in these situations has been and should always be what is in the best interest of the children involved. A shared parenting arrangement would not be recommended in the case of abuse or neglect.

Child custody is just one issue that a Maryland couple faces when deciding to get a divorce. It is important to have a knowledgeable advocate who can guide someone through the complexities of the legal process. An experienced attorney can help clients obtain the best possible outcome in their divorce proceedings.

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