Divorcing parents frequently disagree about how to handle custody matters. Their feelings about how to share parenting time and authority may be the biggest source of conflict in their Maryland divorce. Although shared custody is the most likely outcome, people still fight over the details, from the breakdown of parenting time schedules to the rules for the children.
If you and your spouse both want time with the children, you may have a hard time compromising with one another when trying to negotiate a schedule and other terms for your parenting plan. The more contentious things become between the two of you, the more likely you are to require outside help.
Custody litigation will help some parents finally resolve their parenting disagreements. A judge will hear all about the family’s circumstances and then decide what would be best for the children given the situation. Will your kids have to testify in Maryland family court if you don’t settle your custody matters?
Your children don’t always have to speak in court
While it may seem empowering for a child to have their say in a custody dispute, many children find the process traumatic. The younger your children are, the more stressful and potentially damaging it might be for them to need to decide where they want to live and give voice to that opinion in a public forum.
Older children, like teenagers, may want to have their opinion heard and may have valid reasons for developing a specific preference. However, in many cases, children primarily worry that testifying may damage their relationship with the other parent. Although a child’s preferences will be among the numerous factors that a judge may consider in a litigated custody matter, they do not always have to have the children speak in court.
In fact, parents may recognize how hard it would be for the children to speak on their preferences and might be able to better cooperate with one another when they understand how stressful the divorce proceedings have become for their children. Even if you are still at odds with one another, it may be possible to compromise through mediation.
Looking at every option can help Maryland parents handle child custody disputes without putting their children in the middle.