According to the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, Maryland has over 300,000 single-parent households with one or more minor child. Many estranged partners must retain family attorneys and formulate arrangements to share time with their children.

Arranging an equitable parenting schedule can sometimes become a contentious process, but ideally, it will result in a fair and reasonable agreement in the best interest of the children with the help of an experienced family law attorney. A Maryland child custody lawyer may be able to provide assistance with formulating a satisfactory parenting plan.

Legal Custody Versus Physical Custody

Legal custody and physical custody differ in the powers that they may afford each parent. No matter the particular type of arrangement, if an order is handed down by the court, it must be followed until a legal change can be made. A Maryland attorney may be a resource in facilitating a workable child custody and parenting plan.

Legal custody, as defined by the People’s Law Library of Maryland, is the right to make major decisions on a child’s behalf related to matters, including but not limited to:  education, healthcare, and religious practices. Conversely, physical custody concerns who the child lives with on a day-to-day basis, which may generally involve making everyday decisions regarding meals, activities, and emergency medical care.

Maryland Written Custody Agreement

Maryland Code, Family Law §7-103 covers the requirements of a settlement agreement with regard to the following issues:

Parents might consider forming an amicable schedule for a written settlement without intervention by the courts, but if issues arise that require intervention, a Maryland parent may retain a child custody lawyer to assist them.

Moreover, Maryland’s Parenting Time Guide offers sample time arrangements, as well as other compromises for certain special occasions. It may be important to consider planning ahead for major holidays, birthdays, breaks from school, and long vacations of one week or more.

One additional concern may be having contact with one’s children when the other parent is with them. Parents may choose to include times and days of the week for phone calls with their sons or daughters. The length and type of each phone call may be negotiated, as well, and then memorialized in a signed agreement.

Educational Seminar Requirement

Md. Code, Fam. Law §7-103.2(b) requires estranged partners, who are in a contested custody case in litigation, to take part in an instructive course that will further enlighten them about the ways in which divorce might affect the lives of the children. The class also shares tips on how to minimize any unsettling effects of child sharing. A dedicated Maryland lawyer well-versed in child custody matters may be able to offer additional guidance on reducing any disruptive effects on kids.

Let a Maryland Child Custody Attorney Help

There are many components involved with filing for divorce, and child custody is just one aspect of many to be considered in the weeks or months before the decree is finalized. As such, it may be beneficial to seek the assistance of a legal professional who is well-versed in such matters.

A Maryland child custody lawyer may be able to help with arranging time-sharing schedules as part of a written settlement agreement. Make an appointment to speak with legal counsel today.