Shared parenting refers to an arrangement in which you and your former spouse divide the responsibilities for your children equally even after your divorce. You are both involved in any legal decision-making for your children, and the children spend nearly equal amounts of time with each parent.
According to the Children’s Rights Council, Maryland law allows for a shared custody agreement if it is in the children’s interests. However, the state does not require shared parenting.
What is a shared parenting presumption?
According to STAT News, multiple studies over several decades have affirmed that shared parenting is almost always the most desirable arrangement for children when their parents get a divorce. However, only a few states have adopted laws that would create a legal assumption that equal joint custody is in the children’s interests. If you lived in one of these states and you did not believe that shared parenting was best for your children, you would have to present evidence to that effect. In Maryland, though, equal shared custody is not the default arrangement.
What does it mean that Maryland does not have a shared parenting presumption?
The fact that the law does not presume that shared parenting is in your children’s interest does not mean that you and your spouse cannot have joint custody. Instead, it means that either or both of you must provide evidence to the court showing that equal joint custody is best for your children.
The children’s interest is always the guiding principle behind custody decisions. However, the court may not agree with you about which arrangement would benefit the children most.