When there is a family law case in Maryland, there might be a natural belief that it involves parents who disagree about every issue and are in constant dispute. This is particularly true with emotionally-charged factors like child custody. However, many couples are on reasonable terms and with child custody, the parents can negotiate in good faith about a joint custody agreement. When thinking about this option, it is important to be aware of the details and to have the basics to make it work. This is crucial for the good of the child. Having experienced assistance can help navigate this situation.
Knowing when a joint custody arrangement can work
Parents who are thinking about a joint custody arrangement should be cordial enough that they can discuss issues related to the child without rancor between them. The parents will have shared physical custody and joint legal custody meaning the child will spend significant time with both parents and the decisions on the child’s care and future will be made via collaboration.
Before allowing a joint custody agreement, the court will want to know if the parents are able to share custody; are fit parents; what the relationship between the child and the parents is like; if the child has a preference and is mature enough to express it; if the arrangement will invite stability in the child’s life; the proximity of the parents’ residences; the type of work the parents do; how many children there are; how old the children are; financial considerations; and parenting ability. The court must also assess the parents’ true intentions. With some negotiations, there is a trade. Regarding children, it is generally unwise to allow other parts of the case to impact this type of arrangement.
Being legally protected is imperative even in amicable cases
Parents who are in a contentious relationship are unlikely to be able to negotiate a joint child custody agreement. For those who are willing and able to do so, it does not eliminate the need for experienced assistance. From the decision to try and cobble together an agreement and throughout the process, it is a wise step to consult with qualified professionals to avoid complications and to reach an amicable resolution for the good of the parents and especially the child.