Child Custody & Visitation

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Child Custody in Maryland

Is there anything more precious to a parent than their relationship with their own child? Is there anything more critical to a parent than that child’s health and emotional development?

No, as the attorneys at Trainor, Billman, Bennett & Milko understand very, very well.

For a parent going through a divorce or separation, uncertainty surrounding future custodial arrangements can be a daunting – and, sometimes, even terrifying – issue. No one becomes a parent with the thought that one day a Judge will dictate the times and circumstances that the parent will see his or her own child.

At the very outset of our representation, we partner with our clients to establish a framework and strategy for achieving the very best custodial outcome given each unique situation. All children and families are different, and one size does not fit all.

Part of this strategy involves educating the client regarding Maryland child custody laws, and then analyzing how that law might apply given the facts of the client’s particular situation.

In Maryland, when the term “custody” is utilized, it typically relates to two different concepts that must be addressed in any custody situation: physical custody and legal custody.

Physical Child Custody

First, the term “physical custody” – sometimes referred to as residential care or child access – is what most people think of when the topic of custody is raised. This type of custody refers to where the child lives: i.e., the specific schedule of access with respect to the child and each parent’s respective household. Depending upon the facts of each particular case, almost any type of physical custodial arrangement can be considered. In many cases, a child may reside primarily with one parent, while spending shorter periods of time at the other parent’s residence on weekends or other weekday windows of time. Such an arrangement is often described as one parent having primary or residential custody, with the other parent having rights of visitation.

In other cases, the custodial schedule may provide that the child spend significant quantities of time at each parent’s household. In such cases, the child may often go back-and-forth between the two households and, for all intent and purposes, has two residences. This type of arrangement is often called “shared physical custody”. In a contested child custody case in Maryland, the Court is charged with determining what specific custodial schedule is in the child’s best interests given the facts of the particular case.

Legal Child Custody

Second, the term “legal custody” refers to a parent or guardian’s right to make major decisions affecting the welfare of the child, typically in the areas of the child’s education, health, or religious upbringing. Legal custody is not necessarily dependent upon whether a parent has primary or shared physical custody. Rather, in determining what is in a child’s best interests regarding legal custody, the Court weighs a variety of factors, including whether the parents have the capacity to effectively communicate concerning major issues impacting the welfare of the child.

If a parent is awarded “sole legal custody”, that parent may unilaterally make major legal custody decisions on behalf of the child. In cases involving “joint legal custody”, the parents are required to communicate regarding all such issues and make all major legal custody decisions by consensus.

Finally, there are hybrid situations in which the custody decree may award joint legal custody to both parties, but contain tie-breaking or other provisions designed to resolve situations in which the parents cannot come to agreement on a particular issue.

We Strive to Find Workable Outcomes to Child Custody Disputes

As children typically benefit from both (1) low parental conflict, and (2) maintaining a positive relationship with each parent, our family lawyers make every effort to explore reasonable and constructive child custody outcomes through an amicable, negotiated process.

There are, however, cases in which there is no real option other than to zealously advocate a client’s custodial position before the Court. Often, these types of cases involve situations in which there are parent fitness issues, such as alcohol or substance abuse, physical or emotional abuse, mental illness, or other issues involvement mistreatment of the child. Other disputes often arise when one parent desires to relocate the child to a different state or country.

Contact Our Experienced Annapolis Child Custody Lawyers

Our child custody attorneys have over a century of combined legal experience in helping parents navigate toward the best custodial outcomes for themselves and their children. We will be with you, protecting your relationship with your children, every step of the way. To schedule an initial consultation to discuss your situation with our child custody lawyers, contact us online or call 410-280-1700. Trainor, Billman, Bennett & Milko’s offices are located in downtown Annapolis, Anne Arundel.

Child Custody in Maryland

Is there anything more precious to a parent than their relationship with their own child? Is there anything more critical to a parent than that child’s health and emotional development?

No, as the attorneys at Trainor, Billman, Bennett & Milko understand very, very well.

For a parent going through a divorce or separation, uncertainty surrounding future custodial arrangements can be a daunting – and, sometimes, even terrifying – issue. No one becomes a parent with the thought that one day a Judge will dictate the times and circumstances that the parent will see his or her own child.

At the very outset of our representation, we partner with our clients to establish a framework and strategy for achieving the very best custodial outcome given each unique situation. All children and families are different, and one size does not fit all.

Part of this strategy involves educating the client regarding Maryland child custody laws, and then analyzing how that law might apply given the facts of the client’s particular situation.

In Maryland, when the term “custody” is utilized, it typically relates to two different concepts that must be addressed in any custody situation: physical custody and legal custody.

Physical Child Custody

First, the term “physical custody” – sometimes referred to as residential care or child access – is what most people think of when the topic of custody is raised. This type of custody refers to where the child lives: i.e., the specific schedule of access with respect to the child and each parent’s respective household. Depending upon the facts of each particular case, almost any type of physical custodial arrangement can be considered. In many cases, a child may reside primarily with one parent, while spending shorter periods of time at the other parent’s residence on weekends or other weekday windows of time. Such an arrangement is often described as one parent having primary or residential custody, with the other parent having rights of visitation.

In other cases, the custodial schedule may provide that the child spend significant quantities of time at each parent’s household. In such cases, the child may often go back-and-forth between the two households and, for all intent and purposes, has two residences. This type of arrangement is often called “shared physical custody”. In a contested child custody case in Maryland, the Court is charged with determining what specific custodial schedule is in the child’s best interests given the facts of the particular case.

Legal Child Custody

Second, the term “legal custody” refers to a parent or guardian’s right to make major decisions affecting the welfare of the child, typically in the areas of the child’s education, health, or religious upbringing. Legal custody is not necessarily dependent upon whether a parent has primary or shared physical custody. Rather, in determining what is in a child’s best interests regarding legal custody, the Court weighs a variety of factors, including whether the parents have the capacity to effectively communicate concerning major issues impacting the welfare of the child.

If a parent is awarded “sole legal custody”, that parent may unilaterally make major legal custody decisions on behalf of the child. In cases involving “joint legal custody”, the parents are required to communicate regarding all such issues and make all major legal custody decisions by consensus.

Finally, there are hybrid situations in which the custody decree may award joint legal custody to both parties, but contain tie-breaking or other provisions designed to resolve situations in which the parents cannot come to agreement on a particular issue.

We Strive to Find Workable Outcomes to Child Custody Disputes

As children typically benefit from both (1) low parental conflict, and (2) maintaining a positive relationship with each parent, our family lawyers make every effort to explore reasonable and constructive child custody outcomes through an amicable, negotiated process.

There are, however, cases in which there is no real option other than to zealously advocate a client’s custodial position before the Court. Often, these types of cases involve situations in which there are parent fitness issues, such as alcohol or substance abuse, physical or emotional abuse, mental illness, or other issues involvement mistreatment of the child. Other disputes often arise when one parent desires to relocate the child to a different state or country.

Contact Our Experienced Annapolis Child Custody Lawyers

Our child custody attorneys have over a century of combined legal experience in helping parents navigate toward the best custodial outcomes for themselves and their children. We will be with you, protecting your relationship with your children, every step of the way. To schedule an initial consultation to discuss your situation with our child custody lawyers, contact us online or call 410-280-1700. Trainor, Billman, Bennett & Milko’s offices are located in downtown Annapolis, Anne Arundel.

How Can We Help You?