Maryland recently enacted new requirements for parents involved in custody litigation. The court recognizes that parents, even those going through litigation, are in the best position to decide what is in their children’s best interests as opposed to allowing a judge to do so for them. The court hopes that by requiring parents to engage in discussions concerning parenting time and decision making for their children that more parents will be able to reach amicable decisions concerning the care of their children.
Therefore, each parent will be required to complete a parenting plan (or CC-DR-109) under Maryland Rule 9-204.1. A parenting plan is a written agreement (formally describing how each parent will care for and make decisions about their child(ren). You may fill out this document directly with your child’s other parent, with the aid of a mediator, or with your attorney
Parents who can amicably discuss and decide on a parenting plan, may ultimately avoid the extra cost, stress, and reliance on the court. Your plan may be an initial agreement or a modification of an existing agreement and includes topics about when the child(ren) spend time with you (parenting time or physical custody) and how decisions about the child/children are made (decision-making authority or legal custody).
With the help of your attorney, the parenting plan is then filed with the court and if the court decides that the plan is in the best interest of the child(ren), it may be written into a court order. The court then has authority to enforce the order. If you are unable to agree on a parenting plan, the court will decide what is in the best interest of the child(ren).
As a parent, you know your child’s interests, needs, and routines and are likely in a better position than a court to develop a parenting plan that works for your family. While there have previously been tools in place through the court system to assist parents, including court-ordered mediation and co-parenting classes, Maryland’s new parenting plan forms are an additional resource.
If you have questions about the parenting plan forms, are looking to resolve your custody dispute in custody mediation or wish to settle your custody dispute without litigation, Jacobson Family Law is here to answer any questions you may have. Schedule a consultation online or call to speak to someone at (443) 741-1147.