Maryland Among States Considering New Shared Custody Laws
If you are of a certain age, your picture of post-divorce parenting is one parent with primary custody, typically the mother, with the other parent having weekend visitation or, in some cases, every-other-weekend visitation. In more recent years, custody has changed. More parents are trying co-parenting, with the support of their state.
In 2017, 20 states, including Maryland, considered laws that would encourage shared parenting. In fact, some states considered making shared parenting a presumption, even if the divorcing couple disagreed. For example, Kentucky passed a law that made shared parenting standard for the time period before a divorce was finalized. Florida approved a similar bill that was not made into law, and Michigan is still considering a bill that would make equal parenting time at least a talking point for custody discussions.
Many of the bills have been sponsored by fathers’ rights groups, saying that the burden of child support obligations would be lessened with shared parenting. Opponents of the bills say that protections against abusive former spouses would be rolled back. Opponents also say that the laws are unnecessary as more divorcing couples are choosing shared parenting for themselves.
In Maryland, bills have been promoted but have not yet made it out of committee. Whether or not these bills, once turned to law, will help or harm divorcing parents remains to be seen.
If you need assistance settling a child custody agreement in Howard County, MD, reach out to our team. We are here to assist you as you take the legal steps necessary to end your marriage and determine custody of your children.