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Weinberg & Schwartz , L.L.C. Motto
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  • Family Law Matters Today!


Founding Partners Jolie Weinberg and Marni Schwartz have been named to the

Maryland Top 100 Lawyers and Maryland Top 50 Women Lists

Maryland Parenting Plans and What They Mean to Parents


Parenting Plans are now a requirement for litigants going through the Maryland court system.

A Parenting Plan is a written agreement between parents that sets forth their plan for raising their child(ren) in the child(ren)’s best interest.  The courts throughout the state now require parents to work on a Parenting Plan either with the other parent, on their own, with counsel, or with a mediator.  Assuming the parents can reach an acceptable plan, they would then file the Parenting Plan with the court for the court’s review in the best interest of the child(ren).  A common question amongst litigants was what is the “best interest of the children”?

Factors the Court considers in determining the Best Interest of the Child:

  1. Stability and the foreseeable health and welfare of the child;
  2. Frequency, regular and continuing contact with parties who can act in the child’s best interest;
  3. Whether and how parties who do not live together will share the rights and responsibilities of raising the child;
  4. The child’s relationship with each party, any sibling, other relatives and individuals who are or may become important in the child’s life;
  5. The child’s physical and emotional security and protection from conflict and violence;
  6. The child’s developmental needs, including physical safety, emotional security, positive self-image, interpersonal skills, and intellectual and cognitive growth;
  7. The day-to-day needs of the child, including education, socialization, culture and religion, food, shelter, clothing and mental and physical health;
  8. How well the parties each
    1. Place the child’s need above the parties’ need;
    2. Protect the child from the negative effects of any conflict between the parties; and
    3. Maintain the child’s relationship with the parties, siblings, other relatives, or individuals who have or likely may have a significant relationship with the child;
  9. Age of the child;
  10. Any military deployment of a party and its effect, if any, on the parent-child relationship
  11. Any prior court orders or agreements between the parties;
  12. Each party’s role and tasks related to the child and how, if at all, those roles and tasks have changed;
  13. The location of each party’s home as it related to their ability to coordinate parenting time, school and activities;
  14. The parties’ relationship with each other including:
  15. communicating with each other;
  16. whether they can co-parent without disrupting the child’s social and school life;
  17. how the parties will resolve any disputes in the future without the need for court intervention.
  18. The child’s preference, if age appropriate;
  19. Any other factors deemed appropriate by the parties.

If the parties cannot construct a Joint Parenting Plan, then the parties must complete a Joint Statement of the Parties Concerning Decision Making Authority and Parenting Time pursuant to Md. Rule 9-204.2

Benefits of a Joint Parenting Plan:

  • Clear expectations between parents
  • Avoid expensive legal fees
  • Time consuming  and emotional litigation
  • Reduce conflict between parents and the child(ren)
  • Stress of future court hearings because of unclear or lack of detail agreement
  • Form routines in both households that give child(ren) consistency
  • Parents make decisions about their child(ren), not a Judge who doesn’t know your child(ren) or the family

Tools available to parents:

  • Maryland Parenting Plan Instructions (CC-DRIN-109)
  • Maryland Parenting Plan Tool (CC-DR-109)
  • Joint Statement of Parties Concerning Decision Making Authority and Parenting Time (Md. Rule 9-204.2)
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