How Military Orders Impact Parenting Agreements

Parenting agreements can be complicated to set up, but it is required in Maryland child custody cases. Below are essential aspects of parenting agreements, including how military orders affect them. If you have questions, please speak to our Bethesda child custody lawyers for more information.  

What Is A Parenting Agreement?

A parenting plan or agreement is a written document describing how the parents will raise their child. It includes how the parties will make significant decisions about the child, including legal custody or decision-making authority when your child spends time with each parent.

Parenting plans are important because they guide how the parents will deal with child-related matters. With this plan, the parties, not the family court, decide what is best for the family after thinking about their child’s unique needs. A parenting plan is naturally focused on the child but requires parents to work together for their child’s best interests. Writing the plan allows the parents to create solutions to common child custody problems. The plan’s goal is to establish structure and predictability for how the family will operate when the parents do not live in the same home.  

For the family court, a parenting agreement offers insight into how the family works and makes the child custody order better suited to the circumstances. The hope is that the plan is a roadmap for how the parents will deal with child custody-related conflicts without returning to court. If you and your ex cannot agree on a parenting plan, it is up to the court to determine custody and visitation. 

Are You Required To Have A Parenting Agreement?

Yes, the family court requires you to make a parenting plan or parenting agreement in any Maryland case involving child custody. You and the other parent will receive parenting agreement documents and tools at the initial court hearing. When parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, they have to provide the court with a Joint Statement  CC-DR-110.

How Do You Create A Maryland Parenting Plan?

You should use the Maryland Parenting Plan Tool (CC-DR-109) you receive during your first court hearing. Having your child custody attorney review the parenting plan before you sign it is critical.

If the judge sends you to mediation, review the Parenting Plan Tool and consider how each topic affects your child. Mediation can be helpful because you have the chance to devise solutions that are unique to each child. 

Completing the form before you attend mediation is not required, but it helps to consider the topics you wish to address. You and the other parent should work together to come up with solutions, and bringing the tool to mediation helps the mediator concentrate on issues involving your child.

If the judge does not send you to mediation, go over the Parenting Plan Tool and think about the interests and needs of your family. Bring the completed document to your pre-trial or settlement conference. At this meeting, the court will identify the issues the parties are disputing.

What Should Be Considered When Creating A Parenting Agreement?

You and the other party should consider your child’s unique interests and needs as part of the parenting plan. Remember that children change considerably as they age, and a strong parenting plan establishes guidelines, but the plan should be flexible. Some factors that may be considered in a parenting plan are:

  • Ensuring there is stability for the child
  • Maintaining a relationship between each parent and the child
  • Protecting the child from violence and conflict
  • What the child’s preference is, if they are old enough
  • How you intend to meet the daily needs of your child related to food, shelter, health, socialization, and education
  • Ability to resolve conflicts without going back to court
  • Where each home is located and how it affects your ability to set up parenting time
  • Military deployment and how it can affect the children

What Needs To Be In A Parenting Plan?

The parenting plan or agreement should address the following significant responsibilities. If the parties cannot agree on these vital matters, the court may have to get involved:

Legal Custody (decision-making authority)

Legal custody involves medical care and mental health, which includes how you will select healthcare providers. Also, regarding education, where will the child go to school, and which address will decide the school district? Next, you need to determine what religious training there will be, if any, and how extracurricular activity issues will be resolved.

Parenting Time (physical custody)

When will the child spend time with each parent? How will you deal with school breaks, vacations, holidays, traveling, and other special times of the year?

Communication

How will the parents communicate with each other. How will you communicate with your child when they are with the other parent?

Sharing Information

How will you access and share critical information about the child’s education, health, and welfare?

Exchange And Transportation

How will you get the child around, and where will exchanges happen?

Childcare

How do you decide who cares for the child when you are busy? How will you maintain the child’s relationship with other family members?

Other Issues

Also, you may need to address discipline issues, matters that require parental consent, and restrictions on what the child can be exposed to. Your attorney can facilitate these critical discussions to create an optimal parenting plan.

Military Orders And Parenting Agreements

If you are in the military and going through a divorce, military service can have a major impact, including child custody and visitation. Special factors are involved in child custody matters for military members, but parents in the service have the same child custody and visitation rights as other parents. If a military parent is deployed or relocates, setting up a parenting arrangement can be complicated. In an ideal situation, both parents will arrange a child custody and visitation arrangement that considers the needs of a military member’s orders.

Your child custody attorney can help you develop a parenting plan that considers military deployment, relocation, and other common military-related issues. After all, active-duty parents should not suffer negative consequences in a custody or visitation case because they serve the nation.

Contact Our Bethesda Child Custody Attorneys Today  

If you are facing divorce in Maryland, alimony concerns can heighten the stress and uncertainty, but answers are available. Please contact our Bethesda child custody lawyers at Shah & Kishore today for a consultation at (301) 315-0001.

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