“Your children will become what you are; so be what you want them to be”
— David Bly
What could be more frightening to you as a parent than a custody dispute about your children? Maybe you picked to end the marriage, maybe you didn’t. Maybe you were never married, but have a child (or children) together. Whatever the case, the end of your marriage or relationship is not the end of your parenting journey. Parenting through divorce and into a new, two-household family and custody schedule can be trying. Hundreds of clients who are parents have trusted the lawyers at McCabe Russell, PA, to help them through the challenges of a custody dispute in court.
Answering Your Questions
Our clients have faced many seemingly impossible questions. Among them:
- Is your ex pressuring you to follow a custody schedule that doesn’t work for the children?
- Is your ex threatening to keep the children from you?
- Does your ex have the markings of a personality disorder and you worry about the impact on the children?
- Do you and your ex get along about the children for the most part but disagree about one hot-button issue?
- What kinds of custody schedules are “normal”?
We have experience with all of these issues and many, many more. We will work to help you meet your goals for yourself and your children.
Representing You In Court
After hearing testimony and considering the evidence presented, judges issue custody orders that are based on the best interests of the children. In Maryland, these issues address two subtypes of custody:
- Legal custody (which involves decision-making around education, religion, and medical decisions); and
- Physical custody (which involves where the children live).
When making physical custody determinations, a judge can award one parent “primary custody” which means that the children live with that parent more than 65% of the overnights in a year. Or a judge can award both parents “shared custody” which does not have to be exactly a fifty-fifty schedule, but is closer to it.
When making legal custody determinations, a judge can award one parent “sole legal custody,” which means that parent makes all of the big-picture decisions for the children. Or a judge can award “joint legal custody,” which means that the parents will work together to make these decisions.
At the request of one party there may be a temporary proceeding or “pendente lite hearing” where a judge or magistrate determines “access” (in essence physical custody) prior to a final, permanent custody hearing. Clients should be well-represented at both phases of custody proceedings. Often the person with whom the children reside after the temporary hearing is the person with whom the children primarily reside after the final hearing.
Once a Court enters an Order concerning child custody, it cannot be changed until a Court modifies that Order. There are many reasons why modifications might become necessary. The lawyers at McCabe Russell, PA, have more than 25 years of experience helping our clients get the modifications that they need to better help their children in ever-changing circumstances.
McCabe Russell, PA, is an experienced family law firm serving clients throughout Maryland. To reserve a consultation in our Fulton (Howard County) office or our Rockville (Montgomery County) office, please call 443.812.1435 or fill out our contact form.