Howard County child custody lawyer

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, keeping in mind the best interests of the child. Attorney Fred Coover is your skilled and experienced Howard County child custody lawyer. 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. Contact Coover Law Firm, LLC at (410) 553-5042 today.

howard county child custody lawyers

Services provided by our skilled child custody lawyer

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.

Legal advice

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 is here to provide personalized advice and counsel to ensure that 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 make sure your children’s best interests are represented.

Negotiation and mediation

Alternative dispute resolution methods such as negotiation and mediation can often produce better child custody results than a court hearing. Our attorney is an experienced negotiator with the skills needed to help you reach an agreement that is fair and equitable 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, 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.

Maryland child custody laws

Child custody can be granted in many different ways under Maryland law, including sole custody, joint custody, shared custody, and split custody. Often, one parent is either granted sole custody or is considered the primary residential parent, and the other parent has visitation according to an agreed-upon or court-ordered schedule.

Physical custody

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.

Legal custody

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 the child’s 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 that important decisions be made jointly.

Cooperation is crucial

In the case of either joint legal custody or shared physical custody, it is important that the parents can get along well enough with each other to make a joint arrangement work. For the most part, parents are expected to stick to a plan and work out disagreements between themselves without rushing back to court every time a problem arises.

Ongoing litigation can be harmful to the child and may not always be the best solution. However, in appropriate circumstances, we assist parties in post-divorce motions and litigation to make sure their needs are met.

Common issues in child custody cases

Howard County child custody cases often involve a variety of complex issues, all of which revolve around doing what is best for the child.

Legal custody

While many co-parents are capable of making 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

Physical custody involves the residence of the child. Here, too, the Court will consider the child’s best interests. The Court has to take into account 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 with 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 make sure it is in the child’s best interests.

Likewise, if a parent with any form of 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 in 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 look at 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, gets them ready 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 is best able to 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 their preference on which 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 greater 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 other family members?

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 important 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, do not hesitate to contact Coover Law Firm, LLC. Call (410) 553-5042 today.

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 Coover Law Firm, LLC during your family’s time of need, you will have a dedicated legal advocate working on your behalf to ensure that the custody arrangement is not only fair and just but beneficial to your child’s future.

With Coover Law Firm, LLC in your corner, you can rest assured that your child’s interests and well-being are in caring, capable hands.

Our Howard County child custody lawyer is ready to help

Given the latitude that the Judge has in deciding custody matters, you must prepare a persuasive case and be ready 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.

For assistance with a divorce or child custody matter, call Howard County family lawyer Fred Coover at (410) 553-5042.