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Resolving child custody disputes

After some Maryland couples have divorced, they may have disputes arise about various aspects of child custody and visitation. When parents have disagreements about their children, there are several approaches to resolving the issues.

Traditionally, parents have returned to court in order to litigate child custody disputes that arise. Courts hear many child custody disputes and may not view them in the same way that the parents do. Litigation can also be expensive and lengthy. Parents might want to try to resolve their issues short of going to hearing if it is possible.

Mediation may be an effective way to resolve minor disputes without engaging in protracted litigation. When parents choose to mediate their disagreements, they meet with a neutral third party who is trained to facilitate resolutions. If an agreement is reached in mediation, it is important that the parents draft a formal agreement and file it in court so that it will become binding. Couples may also choose a collaborative approach. In a collaborative divorce, each parent hires his or her own collaborative lawyer. They might also hire a child specialist who makes recommendations. All of the parties meet and work to resolve the issues. The parents agree that they will not litigate. If either withdraws from the collaborative process, he or she will have to start over in court with a new lawyer.

It is common for emotions to run high in cases involving child custody. A parent who is involved in a child custody dispute might want to seek help from a family law attorney when looking at the issue in the light of what is in the child's best interests.

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