Parents in Maryland who are going through a divorce may want to share custody or ensure that one child has ample visitation time with the parent who does not have custody. At the same time, the parents may find that whenever they are together or try to communicate, it erupts into conflict. This can be particularly upsetting for their children. Studies show that it is exposure to this conflict that is the most difficult for children after divorce, so parents should seek to minimize it.
Whether a divorce is contentious or amicable in Maryland, most divorced or divorcing couples can agree that the best interests of any children involved in the process need to be at the heart of the matter. Traditionally, children of divorced or divorcing couples have faced the prospect of shuttling between two different homes, but a recent trend is seeking to change that. "Birdnesting" is a custody arrangement in which both parents share a home while living separately to provide children with a singular place of residence during or after a divorce.
In Maryland and many other states, child custody orders are meant to be neutral in regards to gender. However, mothers tend to be granted custody after a couple divorces. If noncustodial parents fail to pay child support, they could be jailed or charged interest on the balance in arrears. One man claimed that he owed $680,000 in back support at an interest rate of 9 percent.
The reasons that Maryland couples decide to end their marriages vary but sometimes depend on people's backgrounds. Relationship quality exerts a large influence, but personal histories can also alter the odds of a person choosing to get a divorce. For example, research has identified children of divorced parents as being at a higher risk of divorce. Daughters of divorced parents experience a 60 percent greater likelihood of dissolving their marriages than people raised by married parents. The divorce risk rises by 35 percent for sons of divorced parents.
When Maryland parents decide to divorce, concern about the effects on their children is often uppermost in their minds. This can be especially true as kids head off to a new school year. Every academic year can be a time of uncertainty, anxiety and anticipation as children prepare for new friends, teachers and classes. However, the school year transition can be especially challenging when the children's lives are split between two homes for the first time. While academic life after divorce will become routine in future years, parents can help to ease kids' transition in that first back-to-school period after a divorce.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 percent of children in the country are born to parents who are not married. This is an increase from 18.4 percent in 2007. Unmarried fathers in Maryland and other states do have rights to their children, and the first step in obtaining those rights is to establish paternity. Doing so can be as simple as including the father's name on the child's birth certificate.
Attitudes towards fathers' roles in parenting are changing, and with this change comes a change in child custody agreements. Parents in Maryland and throughout the country are increasingly coming up with creative arrangements that put the child's needs first and allow both parents to remain significant presences in their children's lives.
Maryland parents going through divorce and child custody issues are increasingly looking toward shared custody. Also called co-parenting, it involves each parent sharing approximately 50 percent of custody time. While modern courts tend to look on shared custody favorably, a number of legislators are hoping to make it a legal presumption, even in cases where parents disagree.
Maryland fathers who are seeking custody or visitation time with their children after a divorce might want to think about what they will request and why. Being able to clearly articulate a reason why a certain plan for custody is the best one will be important whether the father needs to persuade the other parent in negotiations or a judge during litigation. The plan should take the work schedules of the parents into account, but ultimately, it must also be in the best interests of the child.
Maryland parents who are ending their marriage will need to discuss how to proceed with their parenting plan. Most parents want to give their children as much stability and security as possible when the family structure changes so drastically and one way to provide this is by establishing rules that will be effect in both parents' homes. This provides constancy and normalcy for children who are already dealing with the major changes a divorce brings.