Custody Attorneys with Offices in Columbia, Towson, and Rockville, Maryland
In contested custody cases, the court will make a decision regarding physical and legal custody of the children. Alternatively, parties are able to come to an agreement regarding settlement of a custody arrangement.
- Legal custody involves the right to make decisions that significantly affect a child’s life relating to their health, education, religion, and general welfare. The court can order sole legal custody to one parent or joint legal custody whereby the parents must work together in making decisions that affect their child. Courts may order additional provisions regarding joint legal custody, including awarding one parent tie-breaking authority in the event of a dispute.
- Physical custody involves where the child will reside and who will have the decision making ability regarding day-to-day activities.
The guiding principle for the court in any child custody case is what is in the best interest of the child.
Many factors are considered by the court including:
- fitness of the parents
- willingness of the parents to share custody
- any agreements between the parents
- potential for the child to maintain familial relations
- child’s preference (when appropriate)
- potential disruption to child’s school and social life
- material opportunities affecting the child
- child’s age and health
- suitability of the parental homes
- whether the non-custodial parent will have reasonable visitation
- how long the child has been separated from a parent
- any prior abandonment or surrender of the child
- any other relevant facts
When a third party (i.e. someone who is not one of the child’s legal parents) is seeking custody, Maryland case law has long maintained a presumption that it is in a child’s best interest to be raised by his or her parents.
This presumption can be rebutted by a showing of parental unfitness or exceptional circumstances.
In contested custody cases between two parents, there is no presumption in favor of awarding custody to either parent; the court has wide discretion to act in the child’s best interests.
There is no court decision that can have more of an emotional impact on a parent than a custody order.
Our attorneys will be your voice, advocating for your interests and protecting your family.
Our attorneys have provided effective representation in thousands of child custody, child welfare and termination of parental rights hearings. We have the experience and passion to provide you with the advocacy you deserve.
The goal of any custody order is to do what is in your child’s best interest.
- Our attorneys have been appointed to provide representation for children in custody cases on numerous occasions in multiple jurisdictions
- Our attorneys have represented thousands of children in child welfare cases where the best interest standard controls if the child does not have considered judgment
- We have provided representation for hundreds of parents in child welfare and custody cases
This extensive experience advocating for both parents and children makes us uniquely qualified to explain to our clients those factors that are most important when the court evaluates what is in your child’s best interest.
We will attempt to resolve your case amicably, always cognizant of your desired outcome. But, should your case proceed to trial, we will be well prepared with an articulate, persuasive argument to obtain a favorable ruling for you.