Maryland residents may be interested to know that many states are reviewing how they view child custody and child support payments. The reviews have been spurred by fathers who feel that they have been unjustly denied custody of their children simply because they are fathers and not mothers. Child custody cases are already quite complex, but they could become more complex for residents of nearly half of the states.
For the most part, child custody and child support payments are settled out of court through some type of mediation. However, when these issues move into the courtroom, it is usually because parents cannot agree to suitable arrangements on their own. Opponents of the new legislation that pushes for judges to rule in favor of shared parenting fear that these already-contentious divorces are the ones that would be most affected by the reform.
Currently, about 20 states are considering legislation that would require a family court judge to first and foremost consider joint custody of the children with as close to a 50 percent divide between the two parents. Also, many states are considering reforming child support laws, which are currently based on the earnings expected for a person for a certain time period. Meanwhile, the new legislation is suggesting that support payments should be based on actual earnings. However, if that is the case, opponents say that some people would quit their jobs or alter their businesses' profits to keep from paying their fair share of support for their children.
Most would agree that a parent should not be given custody of a child based solely on whether he or she is a mother or a father. Instead, every case should be judged on its own merits. Most also agree that child support should be enough to allow a custodial parent to support his or her child, while not leaving a non-custodial parent in poverty. With so many questions concerning the proposed legislation and its effect on families, Maryland residents may want to keep a close eye on changes to both child custody and child support laws.
Source: Forbes, "How Will Proposed Changes In Custody Laws Affect Divorcing Women Financially?", Jeff Landers, May 7, 2015