If you’re a parent going through a separation or divorce in Maryland, you may benefit from learning more about how courts analyze parenting plans. Courts in Maryland require parties to submit their parenting plan any time custody of a minor is involved in a case. At the first hearing, the parties receive parenting planning documents that include instructions and a form for creating a plan. These plans are not required in Child in Need of Assistance cases.
Parenting plans for minors
Parenting plans are required when a party is asking for custody or to modify an existing custody order. The plan is a written document outlining how the parties will raise the minor. A party is anyone petitioning the court to establish or maintain a parent-child relationship with the minor. This would include legal guardians, de facto parents, biological relatives, and adoptive parents. If the parties cannot agree on a parenting plan, they are required to submit a joint statement.
Parenting plans in Maryland
The parenting plans serve as guides to help the parties manage child-related issues. The plan covers legal custody or decision-making authority, and physical custody, parenting time, or the time spent with each party. Courts instruct the parties to use the parenting plan to decide what’s best for the family and the child. The parenting plans are child-focused and encourage collaborative co-parenting to help foster continued relationships with the child and each party.
Managing a parenting plan
The hope is that the parenting plan helps provide the parties with some solutions to their problems. The plans are designed to provide some structure and predictability to how the family functions when the parties don’t live together. Parenting plans provide the courts with insight into the family dynamic to help make the child custody orders and modifications more equitable and uniform.