Couples in Maryland or elsewhere who have gone through a divorce may understand that the Christmas season can be particularly rough when there are children involved. It can be difficult to arrange the celebrations of multiple families while taking the specified visitation schedules of the parents into account. Regardless of the time of year, child custody is of utmost concern to many parents, and reports indicate support is gaining for a newer type of arrangement.
Traditionally, courts have often granted custody to mothers, while leaving fathers with more limited visitation rights. In many cases, children would spend every other weekend with their fathers and would also rotate spending major holidays with them. However, studies have shown that it is more beneficial for children to spend a more balanced amount of time with each parent, rather than the majority of time with one.
This arrangement, called shared parenting, has recently become more common. In fact, several states have enacted legislation that specifies a shared parenting agreement as the starting point for child custody discussions, except in cases involving the presence of neglect, abuse or criminal activity. While some opponents argue against the arrangement might not work in every situation, advocates agree that having both parents involved is generally in the best interest of the children. The National Parents Organization, among others, is encouraging states across the country to evaluate legislation for shared parenting.
Parents who are contemplating divorce could benefit from consulting with a Maryland attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can offer guidance on child custody and a myriad of other issues involved with the process of dissolving a marriage. Having such an advocate could prove beneficial to working toward the best possible outcome during divorce proceedings.