Negotiating parenting plans regarding primary caretaker issues

Many Maryland parents are familiar with the divorce process and how easily obstacles can arise, especially regarding child custody and related issues. Most parents agree that children's best interests are of paramount importance when developing new parenting plans for the future. Problems tend to surface, however, when the parties disagree about who should be designated the primary caretaker and/or who should have physical and legal custody of children.

Each state has its own guidelines regarding how to determine which parent is the primary caretaker. While it is typically understood that such tasks include provision for food, shelter and clothing, there are several other key factors that are non-physical in nature. For instance, a court might also consider what children's routines were during their parents' marriage; in other words, with which parent did they spend most of their time? Things like support and encouragement in extracurricular activities, helping with homework and spending leisure time together are additional considerations that may bear significant impact on defining the role of a primary caretaker.

It's often possible for parents to negotiate custody arrangements outside a courtroom. In such circumstances, the court merely needs to approve a particular plan, rather than determine its specifications. However, when a breakdown in communication has occurred between parents, it is often necessary to rely on the court to make custody and visitation decisions.

Getting divorced rarely means a Maryland parent seeks to forfeit his or her role as a primary caretaker. Unresolved issues may be more easily addressed with help from experienced family law attorneys. Generally speaking, parenting plans are highly customizable, and a skilled attorney can help a concerned parent protect his or her rights while seeking agreeable solutions that keep children's best interests at heart.

Source: FindLaw, "Preference for the 'Primary Caretaker'", Accessed on Feb. 6, 2017