Law Office of Kevin L. Beard, P.A.

What is the Shared Parenting Bill?

The Shared Parenting Bill is being considered by Maryland lawmakers, and similar legislation is being considered by lawmakers in other states. The bill is aimed at correcting an issue that many fathers and legal advocates view as unjust: the tendency of courts to not award fathers 50-50 custody of their children.

The Shared Parenting Bill would force courts to begin the process of determining child custody from the base position of 50-50 custody sharing. If the court chooses not to award 50-50 custody, then the court would be required to submit a written opinion that explains in writing why equal custody rights were not given.

The current practice of Maryland courts is sometimes quite the opposite of the above. Judges attempt to choose who the best parent is -- while keeping the best interests of the children in mind. Advocates of shared parenting laws, however, argue that shared 50-50 custody is in the best interest of children -- because children have better lives when they spend equal time with each of their parents -- and courts should lean toward awarding it automatically for that reason. Opponents of shared parenting laws, on the other hand, argue that judges should have more flexibility when making child custody arrangements.

Clearly, whenever a legal disagreement involves children, there will be fiercely determined advocates on the other side of the debate with differing opinions. This is why parents may want to find the most skilled and experienced Maryland family law attorney to represent them in their child custody proceedings to ensure that they and their parental rights and the rights of their children are fully protected.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "Fathers deserve equal child custody rights," accessed Aug. 31, 2016

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