While there are potentially many issues that are important when a couple decides to split, when children are involved, in most cases, custody and visitation are some of the most important. Currently, in the state of Maryland, these determinations are made by applying the “best interest of the child” standard. As is the case with most matters connected to a divorce, or the end of a relationship, just how easy it is to reach an agreement regarding what is best for a child, will vary from couple to couple.
Though there was once a time where it was assumed that it was best for children to be cared for by their mother, this school of thought has shifted. Now, throughout the nation, more and more fathers are seeking equal parenting time or, in some cases, even full custody.
Recent research supports this approach. Among other things, studies have revealed that the amount of time children spend with their fathers can impact both their mental and physical health. Specifically, these children are:
- Less likely to experience substance abuse issues
- Less likely to display delinquent behaviors
- More likely to achieve academic success
Maryland fathers who want equal time with their kids, but assume that they will never get it, should recognize it may be possible. While the state has yet to adopt legislation regarding the presumption of joint custody, there is nonetheless a growing acceptance that consistent presence of a father in a child’s life, is in the best interest of the child. As is the case with any family law matter, it is generally advisable to work with a lawyer who has a thorough understanding of child custody matters.