Choosing the visitation schedule that works for you, your children, and your ex is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a parent. Courts recognize that YOU are in the best position to determine the visitation schedule that is in your child’s best interest. The purpose of this article is to provide you with the information that you need to make an informed decision regarding the custody of your child. Knowledge is power.
SHARED PHYSICAL CUSTODY
Shared physical custody means a child has two real homes, one with each parent. In the state of Maryland, child custody is considered shared if the child spends 128 or more overnights in each parent’s home. While shared custody doesn’t always involve an exact 50-50 time split, it’s usually something close.
Shared physical custody is deemed appropriate when the parents live close enough to each other so that the child can move easily back and forth between houses and can maintain his or her regular activities no matter which house they’re in.
Maryland Courts have determined that shared physical custody is not in the child’s best interest when the parents don’t get along. The many transitions between parents create too many opportunities for conflict.
SOLE PHYSICAL CUSTODY AND VISITATION
If one parent has the child most of the time, that parent is usually granted sole physical custody, while the other parent gets the right to regularly schedule time with the child, called either “visitation” or “parenting time.” A very common arrangement is for one parent to stay in the family home with the child. The child spends most of their time there and sees the other parent at regularly set times. In legal terms, the parent with sole physical custody is the custodial parent and the other is the noncustodial parent who has visitation rights. At one time, it was common place for the mother to have sole physical custody, and the father to have visitation rights for one dinner a week and every other weekend. Times have changed and in the state of Maryland, the options for custodial arrangements are endless. Sample child custody schedules are listed below.
SAMPLE CHILD CUSTODY SCHEDULES