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Best Interests Of The Child In Divorce


Divorce can be difficult for couples, without question.  But the couple is not alone in facing changes:  oftentimes children have a tough time dealing with a split that means huge transformations in their daily lives.  That’s why putting their best interests first is always a priority for the courts.

Naturally, one of the key issues to be determined relates to child custody and visitation. Shared custody is known to benefit children in most situations because maintaining strong relationships with both parents is advantageous to emotional growth and development. Thus, parents coming to an agreement on a custody arrangement and parenting plan in an amicable manner is always of benefit to kids.  When that doesn’t happen the court must intervene to make decisions on the matter. The emotional and physical well-being of children is a top priority that includes a number of factors that must be considered.  Those factors might include:

  • Ability of parents to create a secure and nurturing environment for children, free of illegal activities and/or threatening people or activities;
  • The parents’ ability and willingness to put the needs of the children ahead of their own needs;
  • History of and capacity of parents to participate in the children’s lives, including having knowledge about their friends, hobbies, school, teachers, and so forth;
  • Parents’ disposition and capacity to support a healthy relationship between children and the other parent;
  • Geographical concerns, such as proximity to schools and to the other parent;
  • The inclination to honor the time-sharing agreement and to work through changing circumstances amicably;
  • The parents’ physical health and ability to meet the needs of the children;
  • The mental/emotional health of each parent;
  • Parents’ commitment to providing consistent discipline, routines, bedtimes, etc.;
  • Willingness to communicate with the other parent in matters relating to the children’s extracurricular activities, health, education, etc.;
  • History or evidence of domestic violence, child abandonment, neglect or abuse, or sexual abuse.

Creating a Parenting Plan

Divorcing couples with minor children must create an approved parenting plan.  The goal is to specify the general responsibilities of each parent in terms of both routine and extraordinary tasks related to child rearing, addressing the schedule on a day-to-day basis, as well as designating a workable holiday schedule. It should include plans on how to handle deviations due to sickness or other issues. Decision-making powers related to education, health care, religion, and other matters will be detailed, and strategies and requirements for parent communication will be demarcated. Individual parenting plans may include expectations related to vacations, extended families, and more, depending on the specific needs of the people involved.

Your Legal Advocate 

At The Law Office of Hasson D. Barnes, our dedicated Baltimore child custody attorneys understand how difficult it can be to share responsibilities for your children, and are prepared to help you achieve the very best outcomes possible.  To discuss your situation, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.

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