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Putting children first in a divorce

Divorcing couples in Maryland and around the country sometimes find it difficult to avoid bitter arguments when discussions turn to sensitive topics like spousal support and asset division, but cooler heads usually prevail when children are involved and negotiations move on to custody and visitation arrangements. The traumatic impact that divorce can have on children is well understood, but these risks may be reduced if parents are able to move beyond their differences and concede that they both want what is best for their children and generally act with the very best of intentions.

Studies have found that the children of divorce fare best when they are able to spend significant time with both of their parents, and family law judges now generally favor co-parenting child custody solutions. Having consistent rules and uniform expectations prevents children from being able to use one parent to influence the the other, and parents who are able to cope with the pressures of divorce in a constructive and supportive way set a good example for children that can bear fruit later in life.

One major pitfall for divorced parents to avoid is dragging their children into their inevitable disputes and disagreements. Airing frustrations in front of children or using them to send messages sets a poor example and has been linked with a range of emotional problems, but parents may be able to avoid these mistakes by putting a clear set of parenting rules into place.

Experienced family law attorneys may suggest that these guidelines be detailed enough to make sure that all parties know where they stand but not so confining that loopholes may be sought. Attorneys may also seek to set the appropriate tone for child custody and visitation talks by reminding their clients that the welfare of the children involved should be the chief concern and that litigation can be expensive and unpredictable.

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