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Methods for resolving custody issues

A major challenge for those adjudicating divorce and custody cases in the Maryland court system can be parents bringing trivial or minor disputes to be heard. Litigation can be quite costly in terms of both money and time, and some parents push the limits by returning to court over matters that a judge may not care to micromanage. Sports and other non-essential activities are examples of issues that can cause contention during custody proceedings or after a judgment has been issued, but there are other ways to resolve these types of matters.

Mediation is an alternative approach to deciding details of divorce and child custody that individuals cannot seem to resolve independently. In mediation, the full scope of a divorce agreement could be considered, but this approach could also be used for just one or two areas of disagreement. In going through mediation, a couple is guided by a third party, who endeavors to help the couple communicate and come to an agreement. Mediation is not considered binding, which means that one's decisions through this process should be recorded in a formal divorce and custody agreement.

Collaboration is similar to mediation in that communication between divorcing parties is facilitated. The attorneys of both parties also participate in discussions, and a collaborative coach could enter the process to help parties move toward a point of agreement. A finalized agreement can be created at the end of the process. However, a party choosing not to agree might leave the process. If this occurs, that individual may not retain the same lawyer for further legal action.

While a parent might not want to create friction in a co-parenting relationship, some matters could be serious enough to warrant litigation. Examples might include issues such as non-payment of child support or suspicion of neglectful or abusive behavior by the other parent toward the children.

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