Howard County child custody attorney
When couples with children decide to divorce, the issue of child custody is often the most important.
It is essential to approach this matter carefully, considering the child’s best interests. Attorney Fred Coover is your skilled and experienced Howard County child custody attorney. He is dedicated to resolving custody matters in an atmosphere of mutual respect and sensitivity to the child’s needs.
Let us help you resolve your divorce or child custody matter with personal attention to long-term needs and lasting family relationships. Today, contact a Howard County family lawyer with the Coover Law Firm, LLC at (410) 553-5042.
What services are provided by our Howard County child custody attorney?
When you come to Coover Law Firm, LLC for assistance with a child custody matter, you can expect comprehensive legal services at all stages of your case.
Child custody matters require difficult legal decisions with deeply personal implications. Before making any decisions involving your children, it is crucial to understand the law and how it applies to your situation. Mr. Coover provides personalized advice and counsel to ensure you make the best decision for your family.
Representation in court
Judges typically have the final say in child custody disputes, and you need an advocate in court who can present your case persuasively. If your case must go to court, our Howard County family lawyer is prepared to defend your rights and ensure your children’s best interests are represented.
Negotiation and mediation
Alternative dispute resolution methods like negotiation and mediation can produce better child custody results than a court hearing. Our Howard County child custody attorney is an experienced negotiator with the skills to help you reach a fair and equitable agreement for all involved.
Parenting plan assistance
Developing a parenting plan that is legally sound and appropriate for your family’s unique situation can be challenging, and it is vital to get it right. If you need a new or modified parenting plan, Skilled Howard County child custody attorney Mr. Coover can help you draft a comprehensive plan that meets all the requirements for court approval.
He can also help you enforce the terms of an existing parenting plan if your child’s other parent fails or refuses to abide by them.
What are Maryland child custody laws?
Child custody can be granted in many ways under Maryland law, including sole, joint, shared, and split custody. Often, one parent is awarded sole custody or considered the primary residential parent, and the other parent has visitation according to an agreed-upon or court-ordered schedule.
When both parents take turns having custody of the child, this is known as shared physical custody. In a shared custody arrangement, each parent will typically have the child for at least 35% of the time.
Another aspect of custody is what is known as legal custody. In other words, who has the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the child’s education, religion, health care, and other aspects of upbringing? The court may grant either sole or joint legal custody.
Even if one parent has sole or primary physical custody, the court may still order to make crucial decisions jointly.
Cooperation is crucial
In the case of either joint legal custody or shared physical custody, it is essential that the parents get along well enough with each other to make a collaborative arrangement work. For the most part, parents are expected to stick to a plan and work out disagreements without rushing back to court whenever a problem arises.
Ongoing litigation can harm the child and may not always be the best solution. However, in appropriate circumstances, we assist parties in post-divorce motions and litigation to meet their needs.
What are common issues in child custody cases?
Howard County child custody cases often involve various complex issues, all of which revolve around doing what is best for the child.
While many co-parents can make collaborative decisions regarding their child’s education, religion, and health care, there may be times when one parent wants or needs the final say.
Whether sole or joint, the court must consider the child’s best interests in making decisions about legal custody. Most often, the court will favor joint legal custody unless one parent can prove that this arrangement would be detrimental to the child.
Physical custody involves the residence of the child. Here, too, the court will consider the child’s best interests. The court has to consider factors such as the location of each parent’s residence and availability, the child’s age and stage of development, and each parent’s ability to provide a safe and stable home environment.
In most cases, the court will favor a shared physical custody arrangement, with exceptions only being made when the other parent is deemed unsafe or unfit to care for the child.
When one parent has sole or primary physical custody, the other parent may have visitation rights. In these situations, the court will determine a visitation schedule that provides both parents reasonable access to the child. Visitation is usually unsupervised, but the court may order supervised visitation if the parent in question has a history of abuse, neglect, or substance use.
If a parent with an existing child custody order wants to move out of state or to a different region of Maryland with the child, they must get permission from the court or the child’s other parent. The court will evaluate the proposed move to ensure it is in the child’s best interests.
Likewise, if a parent with custody or visitation wishes to relocate without the child, they must notify the court. In either scenario, the court will likely modify the existing custody order and parenting plan to reflect the change in circumstances.
Modification and enforcement
The court’s involvement in child custody does not always end with the initial ruling. If a parent’s circumstances change significantly, they may request a modification of the existing court order, which is a change in its terms to reflect current conditions.
Additionally, if one parent refuses to comply with a Court order, the other parent may need to go back to court for assistance enforcing the order.
Coover Law Firm, LLC puts your child first.
Maryland law does not provide a set list of factors for the Judge to consider in deciding how to award custody. Instead, the Judge is instructed to look at the “totality of circumstances” in determining the custody and visitation arrangement.
However, the following questions can provide clarity on what the Judge is looking for in awarding custody:
Who is the child’s primary caregiver?
Who feeds and bathes the child, prepares them for school, or arranges daycare? Whom does the child turn to when they are hurt or upset?
Who is the fittest parent?
Is the custody-seeking parent psychologically and physically capable of supporting the child? Is there any evidence of abuse against the other parent or any child residing in the custody-seeking party’s household?
Which parent can best maintain relationships between the child and the extended family?
Who has the desire and integrity to help the child maintain familial connections? Who will allow and encourage the child to remain in contact with the other party? Is the parent likely to penalize or punish the child for attempting contact with the other party?
What does the child want regarding custody?
Is the child old and mature enough to make a rational choice regarding the parent they would prefer to live with? Is the child likely to have an unrealistic preference?
Which parent has more resources?
Which parent has the financial resources to support their child and give them a more significant opportunity?
What is the age and gender of the child?
Does your son have a stronger relationship with his father? Does your daughter have a stronger relationship with her mother? Is your child old enough to have a rational preference? Which parent lives closest to the child’s school, friends, and family?
Has one parent become estranged from the child following a lengthy separation?
Is there a history of one parent walking out, leaving the other parent to care for the child? If applicable, which parent left the last time you broke up?
These are all essential factors that the Judge will consider when determining custody. If you have any questions or concerns about these factors or your fitness as a primary caretaker, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a Howard County child custody attorney with Coover Law Firm, LLC. Call (410) 553-5042 today.
What are the benefits of hiring a child custody lawyer?
Nothing impacts your child’s upbringing more profoundly than the arrangement of parental custody. Every decision, down to the smallest detail, can make a difference in your child’s life. With the help of a qualified attorney, you can skillfully seek an arrangement that is in your child’s best interests.
When you turn to a Howard County child custody attorney with the Coover Law Firm, LLC, during your family’s time of need, you will have a dedicated legal advocate working to ensure that the custody arrangement is fair, just, and beneficial to your child’s future.
When you have Coover Law Firm, LLC, you can trust that empathetic and skilled professionals will care for your child’s welfare and best interests.
Our Howard County child custody attorney is ready to help
Given the latitude that the Judge has in deciding custody matters, you must prepare a persuasive case and be willing to challenge or defend against arguments made by the other spouse in a custody dispute.
Coover Law Firm, LLC in Maryland stands ready to help you through this difficult time with practical, solution-oriented advice and tough, effective litigation when needed.