Preparing for child custody takes financial planning in a divorce

On behalf of Jeffrey N. Greenblatt of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA posted in Child Custody on Friday, March 29, 2013.

People in Maryland and readers of the blog may have seen a recent Forbes article about the way divorce can change a person's family and financial life. While some things are inevitable and may just be considered the cost of not remaining in an unhappy marriage, there are things that couples with children can do in order to soften the blow while protecting their children's best interests.

Child custody is often the most contentious issue in a divorce. Even in an amicable divorce, parents can differ about what is in the child's best interests, which can lead to bitter conflict. By default, Maryland courts will consider joint custody between both parents as the norm, or name one parent the primary residential parent and grant the other parent visitation and family time. Of course every situation is different, and if good cause is shown the court may also grant sole custody to one parent.

Many parents focus primarily on the child custody situation, but don't take into account how the outcome may impact their household finances. In most cases, the parent who is the primary financial breadwinner may be required to pay child support to the other parent, even in joint custody situations.

The parents also need to factor in the living situation, such as whether the parent with primary custody is going to keep the house. The cost of upkeep of a home for a parent with one salary or an income based primarily on child support can be overwhelming, and should be considered as part of the bigger picture in the divorce settlement.

Everyone wants what is best for their children, but doing so within reason is equally important to a child's long-term stability and comfort. With so many priorities and concerns in a divorce, having experienced family law counsel can provide people with the stability and guidance they need to make such important decisions.

Source: Forbes, "5 ways divorce takes your money," Kenneth Rapoza, March 12, 2013