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Child custody: Help is available for drafting parenting plans

Some parents in Maryland who are going through a divorce appear to be fighting to win the clash for custody of their children. This suggests a prolonged battle, with ownership of the children as reward. Agreements reached, and conditions created by parents during a divorce, may play a significant role in a child's adjustment after a divorce of their parents. This is true regardless of whether the final court order is for sole child custody or shared custody.

If it is in the best interest of the children, many judges regard shared parenting as the ideal situation for both children and parents. The court will expect parents to draft a workable parenting plan to avoid disputes in the future. Parents often find it difficult to find mutual agreement on all aspects of these plans, and the assistance of a divorce mediator may be invaluable.

Mediators say that basic guidelines when drafting parenting plans include the parents deciding upon the goals that they both have for their children. It is typically preferable to work on a plan to remain involved parents even if they are in separate households after the divorce. Drafting a parenting plan is not merely dealing with a legal matter; rather, it addresses an important family issue. Understandably, the manner in which the parents handle this important task will not be missed by their children, and it may affect the children's ability to cope with decisions in the future.

In combination with a mediator, an experienced divorce attorney for each parent can provide advice and support to anticipate the changes that typically occur in the circumstances of parents and children over time. Considering that parents may remarry, and children's needs may vary considerably over the ensuing years, these issues can be addressed in the parenting plan. Parenting plans are not set in stone, and future modifications may be authorized by the appropriate court. Family law attorneys are available in Maryland to help parents resolve any issues they may have with matters relating to child custody and more.

Source: mediate.com, "Designing a Successful Parenting Plan", Jack Arbuthnot, Don Gordon, Accessed on July 4, 2015

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