Parenting Agreements for Unmarried Parents
The end of a relationship can be difficult, regardless of whether the couple was married or not. This is especially true when the couple shares a child. Even though the couple won’t need to file for divorce, they’ll still need to consult a child custody lawyer in the Owings Mills area regarding custody, visitation, and support agreements. It is possible, though not always practical, for unmarried ex-partners to make parenting agreements without going to court.
Identify the custody and visitation issues that must be resolved.
There are many more issues that must be agreed upon other than the type of child custody you’ll have. Consider these questions regarding common child custody issues:
- Which parent will the child primarily live with?
- When will the other parent spend time with the child?
- Will there be overnight visitation?
- Who is responsible for picking up/dropping off the child?
- Will either parent be able to call the child at any time?
- With whom will the child spend holidays and school vacations?
- Will either parent be able to move out of the area?
- How will household rules remain consistent across houses?
- Who will make major decisions for the child’s upbringing?
A solid parenting agreement is one that is specific and easily understood. It’s best to make major decisions ahead of time, but both parents should know that a little flexibility is also important. For instance, a parenting agreement might not specify that visitation time might be canceled if the child has a stomach flu, but if the parents are reasonably flexible, they can adjust their plans to suit the child’s needs.
Agree about the child’s support.
A family lawyer can help you calculate a reasonable child support payment based on state guidelines. This may help prevent disputes about paying too much or not enough. In the support agreement, be sure to specify the amount, frequency of payment, and form of payment (check, cash, etc.).
Establish an avenue for change.
It’s normal for parenting and support agreements to change over time, whether or not a court established them. As the child grows older, his or her needs and preferences will change. It’s a good idea to have a written agreement with your ex to meet at least annually to discuss whether there are any new issues that must be resolved. Some problems may arise before your planned annual meeting. Consider setting guidelines for how you and your ex will manage disputes. A proactive mindset may help you avoid court in the future.
Quick Tips for Harmonious Child Exchanges
Even if you and your ex have a rock solid child custody agreement, it’s virtually inevitable that some moments of tension will occur. With a joint type of child custody , parents will likely have to meet each other briefly to exchange the child. You and your ex might not look forward to seeing each other again, but it’s crucial to keep the exchange as neutral and conflict-free as possible. Remember that kids easily pick up on tension, and they are apt to be psychologically harmed by it. If you’re still going through the divorce, consider talking to a family lawyer in Owings Mills about specifying the details of the exchange in the parenting agreement.
Understanding the Child’s Best Interests
For a child exchange to be conflict-free, it’s essential that both parents be on the same page about the best interests of the child. When the exchange is contentious and stressful, the child becomes anxious about each exchange, less able to enjoy spending time with either parent, and more likely to suffer from damage to self-esteem. Remember that children of divorce tend to feel significant guilt. When they see their parents fighting, they often blame themselves. Your child needs emotional stability, and only you and the other parent can provide it.
Communicating with Alternative Methods
You may need to have your family lawyer include provisions in the parenting agreement that spell out acceptable methods of communication between parents . Phone calls can be tricky when the relationship is contentious. Written communication, such as emails and texts, may be best, although phone calls will still be needed for last-minute changes in plans. By agreeing to communicate about important matters before or after the exchange—not during it—both parents can reduce the risk that a conflict will affect the child.
Adjusting the Child Exchange Method
Sometimes, despite the best intentions of the parents, child exchanges become less than harmonious. It may be best to adjust the method of the exchange before the child becomes significantly affected. Email the other parent and tell him or her that you’re concerned about the emotional well-being of your child, and would like to explore the possibility of adjusting the exchange. It may be possible to have another responsible adult with a valid driver’s license provide transportation for the child, such as the child’s grandparent or stepparent. If this isn’t possible, then consider doing the exchange in a public parking lot. Both parents could stay in their own cars and supervise the child as he or she walks from one car to the other.
What Is Negligent Manslaughter?
The killing of one human being by another may be prosecuted under a few different charges. Homicide, for example, is an intentional killing. Manslaughter is different, but the potential legal penalties are still quite severe. If you or a loved one has been charged with manslaughter, it’s important to contact an attorney in Owings Mills right away. You can also watch this featured video for a quick introduction to this charge.
This legal professional explains that a person can be charged with negligent manslaughter if he or she acted in a negligent manner that resulted in another person’s death. This charge does not require that the defendant intended to kill the other person. For example, a drunk driver might not intend to kill a pedestrian, but the death could occur if the drunk driver strikes that person.
The Legal Definition of Spousal Desertion
Under divorce law in Maryland, spousal desertion is one of the grounds for a fault-based divorce . If you think you may have been legally deserted or you’re considering leaving the marital home, it is highly advisable to speak with a divorce lawyer in Owings Mills. Your family lawyer can determine whether your situation meets one of the two legal definitions of spousal desertion in Maryland. The state recognizes two types of desertion: actual desertion and constructive desertion.
Actual desertion occurs when one spouse leaves the marital home or when one spouse ejects the other spouse from the marital home. This means that it’s possible for you to commit spousal desertion even if you did not actually leave the home. Constructive desertion occurs when the mistreatment of one spouse by the other compels the mistreated spouse to leave the marital home. In this case, the spouse who mistreated the other would be considered the deserter. When spousal desertion is used as grounds for divorce, the court can take it into consideration when issuing rulings on property division and spousal support.
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