Joint custody, sometimes referred to as shared custody, is an arrangement put in place by a court in which both divorced parents are still considered equal custodians of any children they had. While there are still hardships that will be worked through as the process plays out, there are steps that divorced parents in Maryland can take to help a joint custody agreement work better for all who are involved.
It’s all about the children
With a joint custody agreement, it’s vital that parents keep the fact that it isn’t about them at the forefront of their minds. A large part of the divorce was about the parents, but the custody agreement that is put in place is all about the health and well-being of the children. For shared custody to be truly effective, the parents must be hyper-focused on the emotional and mental health of their children instead of being focused on their own desires.
Parents should know their limits
Instead of making unrealistic custody demands based on their own insecurities, parents should recognize the limits of their existing schedules and try to work with one another. Someone who travels multiple days a week for work should be flexible enough to recognize that fact and negotiate with his or her ex, so both of them can still be equally involved in their children’s lives.
Bad spouses aren’t bad parents
While there certainly is such a thing as a bad parent, the fact that a person may have been a bad spouse doesn’t automatically make him or her a bad parent. Obviously, a couple that has divorced was unable to get along, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t both love their children unconditionally. People need to remember that their former partners can be bad spouses but still be exceptional parents.
Any individual going through a divorce that involves children is encouraged to work with an attorney familiar with the custody laws in his or her state. A lawyer may review the facts of the divorce; speak with the children, depending on their age; and help their clients come to an agreement that meets their desires as well as the needs of their children.