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Child Custody

Bel Air Child Custody Lawyers Work to Establish Appropriate Orders

Maryland attorneys take on issues involving residence and legal authority

Parents who divorce should take great care to establish appropriate child custody and visitation terms. Maryland courts, like the courts of other states, are required to issue orders based on what is the young person’s best interests, but that can be a very complex and subjective evaluation. At Stark and Keenan, P.A. in Bel Air, we are accomplished family lawyers who work with each client closely to develop a comprehensive perspective on the needs of their children. Whenever possible, we work to find consensus that fosters a spirit of cooperation going forward. However, our trial experience benefits the mothers and fathers we represent if key decisions must go to the judge.

Firm helps parents maintain strong bonds with sons and daughters

In Harford County and across the area, we deliver knowledgeable assistance to parents concerning:

  • Legal and physical custody — Two types of custody determinations are made when parents no longer live together. Legal custody is the authority that one or both parents have regarding important matters affecting their child, such as medical, religious and educational choices. Physical custody refers to where a son or daughter will live primarily and attend school.
  • Sole and joint custody arrangements — Neither a mother or father is given preference under Maryland law when custody terms are established. Typically, legal custody is awarded jointly so that both parents can have an impact on how their child is raised. Residential issues can be trickier, especially if the parents live some distance from each other. One parent can have primary physical custody while the other has visitation rights. Alternatively an order mandating shared physical custody might be appropriate if a child is going to spend at least 35 percent of their time in each home.
  • Visitation — A parent lacking primary physical custody is entitled to reasonable visitation under Maryland law. Our attorneys strive to establish fair, complete, personalized guidelines that cover potential concerns, such as holidays and transportation. In situations where in-person encounters are impossible due to distance, illness or incarceration, “virtual visitation” can be mandated through the use of Skype or similar technology. When grandparents are not able to see their grandchildren, they can petition the court for reasonable access, but great deference is usually given to parents’ wishes unless some type of risk to the child is shown.

The factors used by courts in custody determinations and how they are weighted vary from situation to situation. With the guidance of one of our family law attorneys, you’ll learn how parental fitness, educational needs and even the child’s preference might impact the outcome.

Family litigators take on modification requests and enforcement actions

When one parent relocates or some other material change occurs that may justify a revision to custody or visitation terms, a parent can file a motion for modification. If the change is disputed, courts use a similar “best interests” analysis to determine if the party seeking the change has demonstrated that the modification is appropriate. If you are seeking an adjustment due to a job change, family illness, financial issue or concern about a risk to your child, we can advise you on the best way to make the argument and the likelihood of success. Our firm also represents mothers and fathers opposing modifications as well as those seeking to enforce the terms of an existing order through negotiation or a contempt hearing, if warranted.

Contact a thorough Bel Air child custody lawyer to schedule a consultation

Stark and Keenan, P.A. handles child custody negotiations, mediation and litigation for clients in Harford County and the rest of the greater Baltimore metro area. If you require assistance with a custody issue or another type of family law challenge, please call or contact us online. Our offices are in Bel Air and Baltimore.

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  • Bel Air Office
    30 Office Street
    Bel Air, Maryland 21014
    Phone: 410-879-2222
    Fax: 410-879-0688
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