Custody battles typically hinge on which spouse deserves more time with the children, but what if one wants to avoid the responsibility of parenting? Not everybody is cut out to be a full-time parent, but most courts operate under the assumption that children benefit most when they split time between both parents.
Not ready to provide the level of childcare your former spouse demands? Read on to learn more about your options as a non-custodial parent:
Find Creative Solutions
Few challenges match single parenting; demonstrate empathy for your ex-spouse’s struggle to balance work and childcare. If you’re not willing to join the effort with a greater time commitment, brainstorm alternate options. Perhaps you can modify your child support agreement in the interest of covering additional daycare, babysitting hours, or even summer camp. Your parents may be eager to step up and play a greater role in their grandchildren’s lives. You could even bargain with your ex to ensure that you avoid dreaded tasks such as school conferences and dentist visits. Keep the best interests of your kids at the forefront of your discussion.
No Visitation Obligation
No mandate exists for non-custodial parents to visit their children. As long as you provide required monetary support, you fulfill your legal obligation to your child.
Relinquishing Parental Rights
Rather than merely avoid visitation, some parents prefer a more formal approach, in which they officially relinquish their parental rights. In Maryland, this means filing a petition, complete with the name of the child, the name of the person who will enjoy full parental rights and the reason for relinquishment. If you choose this route, you’ll need to sign your petition in front of a notary public, file it with the proper county clerk’s office and attend a hearing.
What If Neither Party Wants Custody?
In some situations, neither parent feels capable of providing the level of care their child deserves. If the child is 16 years or older, emancipation may be a viable alternative. For younger children, however, one parent must be declared the primary custodian. If neither parent desires custody, the responsibility goes to the parent deemed more suitable. Several factors may be taken into account, including each parent’s income, assets, criminal history or mental health. In rare cases, both parties can relinquish parental rights; custody may then transfer to a grandparent, aunt, uncle or other approved guardian.
Whether you desire full custody, a joint resolution or some other outcome, an excellent family lawyer will work hard to achieve your preferred custody outcome.