When you split from your child’s other parent in Maryland, you may need the state’s family court system to set child custody terms on your behalf. Anytime you task the state with doing so, you have to submit something called a parenting plan. Ideally, you and your ex are going to agree on the guidelines set forth in the parenting plan. However, if you are unable to do so, you must submit something else called a Joint Statement.
Per the Maryland Courts, there are certain elements and areas your parenting plan needs to address.
What to include in a parenting plan
Your parenting plan should outline who handles caring for your son or daughter and when. It should also assert who has decision-making authority over your child and when. For example, you may decide that you and the other parent have to confer when it comes to major decisions, but that the parent caring for the child at the time maintains decision-making responsibilities over more minor matters. You may also include information about how to manage vacations and holidays, who is going to transport your child between homes and so on.
Why you need to create a parenting plan
There are benefits to creating a parenting plan for both you and the state. By putting things you and your child’s other parent agree to in writing, a parenting plan may help you and your ex avoid unnecessary conflicts. It also benefits the state by giving the court valuable information about the dynamic that exists between you and how to keep things as fair as possible.
Some parenting plans are general in nature, while others are more detailed. You may find that the more thorough your parenting plan is, the more it helps you navigate your co-parenting relationship moving forward.