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How Maine Is Trying to Ease Custody Tension

A new article in the Bangor Daily News highlights two bills that Maine is currently weighing in an effort to ease the custody transition between two parents and their children. According to the piece, written by Judy Harrison, LD 642 and LD 346 would add to the “best interest of the child” standard that courts use in determining a custody/parenting plan. 

Exceptions in both bills would include “domestic violence, abuse, neglect and/or drug use by a parent … in determining how much time and under what circumstances children spend it with each parent,” Harrison states.

“The basic goal of the bill is that, before anyone gets divorced, both parents get access to their children regardless of what their parenting skills are,” says Sen. David Dutremble, D-Biddeford. 

He continued: “Attorneys, guardians ad litem and judges step in and take the best interest of the child standard into consideration and make recommendations to the court. But how would someone who does not know your child know what the best interest of your child is supposed to be? … I think the system should start with shared parenting as a basis from which to start making decisions. The idea is to prevent the system from pitting one parent against the other and to allow both parents access to their kids.” 

The pain of custody transition is why many of our clients choose to collaborate on their divorce settlement from the very beginning. By setting aside differences, even if it’s just temporarily, and devising a plan that focuses on the child instead of individual pride or animosity, parents can make some surprising breakthroughs. 

If you’re both concerned about how your child will be affected by your divorce, don’t hesitate to sit down and work out the details together, laws or no laws.

Do you think the Maine bills are necessary, or do parents already have the tools they need to decide what is best for their children? And how does your state handle this part of the divorce process? Sound off in the comments section. 

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