In Maryland child custody matters, it was once considered the norm for mothers to retain full custody of any shared children, with fathers receiving the right to visit with the kids on certain days throughout the month. Fathers were also expected to pay child support to assist with the costs of raising the kids. However, in recent years more and more fathers are playing an active role in the upbringing of their children, and when these marriages end in divorce, the father often wants to continue the same level of involvement in their lives.

When facing child custody negotiations, there are some things that fathers can do to bolster their efforts to gain equal or shared custody of their children. Chief among these is to begin with an aggressive stance toward the division of parenting time. Fathers should make it clear from the very beginning that they are not willing to accept a supporting role in the lives of their kids.

When negotiating toward a custody agreement, it is important to leave matters of child support out of the conversation. Child support and/or alimony are separate topics, and play no role in the child custody process. Fathers should be wary of allowing the two topics to merge, as the result is often a claim that the father only wants more parenting time in order to avoid paying more toward child support. By eliminating money from the discussion, the focus can remain where it belongs, on creating the parenting arrangement that best serves the interests of the children involved.

When addressing these and other important family law matters, it is important to work with an attorney who understands one’s point of view. While more fathers are fighting for equal or shared custody of their children, many others are satisfied to make their child support payments and accept an every-other-weekend visitation schedule. Finding a Maryland attorney who can relate to a father’s need to remain active in his child’s life is essential to achieving a positive outcome.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Custody Battles: The Top Five Things Dads Should Know Before Setting Foot in Court,” Morghan Leia Richardson, May 23, 2013

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