Towson Child Custody Lawyers
Child Access or Visitation
When a parent does not have physical custody of their children, they may still have visitation rights. Visitation arrangements often prescribe a fixed schedule; for example, a child may spend alternating weekends with the non-custodial parent or one day per month. Sometimes, a parent may only be allowed supervised visitations, wherein the visit must be supervised either by the custodial parent, another adult or a professional third party.
Maryland Courts Consider the Best Interests of Your Child When Determining Visitation
Unlike many other states, Maryland courts are not bound by an established set of factors when determining child visitation. Instead, judges may look at all the facts and circumstances relating to a family’s case prior to making a decision. Some factors the courts may consider in determining what is best for the child include:
- Fitness of each parent
- Each parent’s character and reputation
- The child’s preference
- A parent’s ability to financially provide for the child
- What the parents want regarding visitation and any agreements they have made
- The relationship between the child and parents prior to the breakdown of the family unit
- A parent’s work schedule
- Proximity of a parent’s house to the child’s school and extracurricular activities
- Length of the child’s separation from the parent
- Whether either parent voluntarily abandoned the child
- The age and health of the child
Parenting Agreements Mean Predictable Outcomes
One of the most important tasks that divorcing parents face is coming together to parent their children. Whenever possible, it is best to rise above your anger to come to an agreement, rather than letting a judge make important decisions for your family. Because a judge is not restricted in what he or she can consider when determining what is in your child’s best interest, having a solid parenting agreement can prevent unpredicted results.
An experienced Towson child custody lawyer can help you draft a visitation plan to avoid these potential complications. A parenting agreement defines how divorcing parents will allocate time and decision-making when it comes to their children. Properly prepared agreements reduce conflict, because all uncertainties can be covered and spelled out. We can help you turn your parenting agreement into a court order, so that it is enforceable if your ex-spouse does not adhere to the terms of the agreement.
A good parenting agreement should cover a wide range of situations, from everyday banalities to unexpected emergencies. Common topics your agreement should cover include:
- Living arrangements
- Financial issues (child support and other expenses)
- Health insurance and medical care
- Religious training
- Where the child will spend holidays
- Vacation planning
- Pick-up and drop-off times for visits
- Meeting locations
- Whether an intermediary will be used during transfers of the children
- If visitation is supervised, who will provide supervision
Steps to Creating a Parenting Agreement
If possible, you can work together with your ex-spouse to negotiate the terms of a parenting agreement yourselves. However, in most cases, emotions will be running high and it is best to seek the help of a qualified mediator. Next, you should begin collecting all relevant documents, including court papers, previous agreements, letters from your child’s school counselors, officials or therapists. Then, you may want to schedule several meetings to discuss the terms of your agreement. Once the agreement is complete, your child custody lawyer can have the judge approve the agreement so that it becomes enforceable. Any future change in circumstances may warrant a modification of the consent order.
Towson Divorce Lawyers Assist Parents With All Their Visitation Plan Needs
Maryland law requires judges to make decisions about child visitation based upon the best interests of the child. The compassionate Towson child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC also have your child’s best interests at heart. If you need help drafting or enforcing a visitation schedule, parenting agreement or getting a court to make favorable visitation decisions, we are can help. To schedule a consultation, call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online.