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Child Custody and Visitation

As experienced Maryland Custody Lawyers and Maryland Visitation Lawyers, the attorneys at The Drazin Law Center, P.A. understand how important it is for children to have a healthy, strong relationship with two parents and their extended families. We have successfully served as Maryland Attorneys in multitudes of Maryland Custody cases, helping parents committed to putting their children first when the other party lacked a similar commitment.

The attorneys at The Drazin Law Center, P.A. strongest and most aggressive work is done to help clients reach custody resolutions that protect children from high-conflict litigation (and its resulting effects).

Although parents generally love their children and desire that which is best for them, anger toward a spouse (or the child’s other parent) often blocks the ability to negotiate a workable child custody and visitation agreement. The Maryland Lawyers at The Drazin Law Center, P.A. can help you surpass the emotional components of your matter or work with the opposing party (attorney) to clarify the situation to help you reach concrete solutions concerning your children.

Should your child’s other parent be unable to approach the situation rationally and, thus, be unable to strive towards the best interests of your children, the attorneys at The Drazin Law Center, P.A. can further utilize their expertise in litigating the issues for you (and for your children’s best interests) before the Circuit Court.

Either parent may seek custody of the children in a custody dispute before the Court. Within the Maryland Family Law Court, there is no automatic preference for the children to reside with either the mother or the father. The Court may award custody to either parent or a hybrid arrangement.

There are two independent types of child custody; both of which should be addressed in every situation:

Legal Custody

The Maryland Attorneys at The Drazin Law Center, P.A. are well versed in Legal Custody matters.

Legal custody is the right to make important decisions concerning a person’s child. Important decisions include subjects such as non-emergency medical or dental treatment, education and religious upbringing.

Although no presumption exists dictating that joint legal custody is most appropriate, Maryland Courts are inclined to award joint legal custody when the evidence demonstrates that the parents have the ability to communicate effectively and are able to reach shared decisions regarding their children. Often, both parents retain legal custody unless there is a compelling reason. Be aware, even if a parent is not awarded physical custody, many times, he or she will retain joint legal custody.

Where parties share joint legal custody they have the obligation to inform and discuss important issues with their children’s other parent prior to taking any affirmative action; both parents must agree on the course of action prior to its initiation. For example, in a joint legal custody situation, if one parent wants to place the child in psychotherapy, both parents will have to consent to such treatment before any provider should begin therapy.

Sole legal custody means that only one parent has the sole decision making authority regarding the important decisions in the child’s life. In a sole legal custody arrangement, the parent with legal custody is not required to consult with the other parent prior to making important decisions for their child.

The Court may also grant one party to act as the final “tie-breaker” between the parties with joint legal custody (or appoint a parent coordinator to assist the parents in working together for their children’s best interest).

Physical Custody

The Maryland Attorneys at The Drazin Law Center, P.A. are well versed in Physical Custody matters.

Physical custody can be the most divisive, heated and contested part of any Maryland Family Law matter. Physical custody refers to where the child is physically spending their time during the year. Physical custody, and its various forms, are referred to by many different labels including but not limited to sole custody, joint custody, shared custody, residential custody, parenting time, custodial access and visitation.

In cases of sole, primary, or residential custody, one parent will be named as the custodial parent and the child will, thereafter, be considered as living with that parent – often times having the other parent’s time with the child be limited.

The Maryland Family Law Court uses the “best interests” standard when deciding the custodial living arrangements for children. In making a determination as to the best interest of a child the court may consider the following factors, among others:

  • Fitness of the parents
  • Character and Reputation of the parties
  • Willingness of each parent to share custody
  • Relationship between the child and each parent
  • Potential disruption of particular custody arrangement upon a child’s social and school life
  • Geographic proximity of parent’s homes
  • Desire of the natural parents and the terms of any agreements between them
  • The likelihood of maintaining natural family relations
  • The preference of a child when the child is of sufficient age and capacity to make rationale judgments
  • Opportunities affecting the future life of the child
  • Age, health and gender of the child
  • Suitability of the homes of the parents and whether a non-custodial parent will have adequate opportunities for visitation
  • Length of time of any separation between a child and natural parent
  • Effect of any prior voluntary abandonment of the child
  • Demands of each parent’s employment
  • Financial status of each parent

Once the Court determines what custodial arrangement is in the best interest of a child, the arrangement will be reduced to a Court Order. The terms of the Court Order will govern the child’s living arrangements and time with either parent until the child reaches the age of emancipation or until either parent seeks a modification of the custody order.

The most important issue in any Maryland child custody and visitation arrangement (whether by Agreement or Court Order) is to protect the best interests of your children. The lawyers at The Drazin Law Center, P.A. have repeatedly and successfully negotiated and litigated arrangements ranging from joint custody with 50-50 access to children to sole custody for one parent with and without access (visitation) to the non-custodial parent.

Come meet with a member of our team for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION to learn more about how we can assist you.

Maryland Custody Lawyers serving clients with their Custody and Visitation matters throughout the State of Maryland, including, but not limited to, Howard County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County, Montgomery County, Carroll County, and Harford County trial (Circuit) Courts, and within the Maryland Appellate Courts.