DC and Maryland Child Custody and Visitation Attorneys

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As a parent going through a divorce or pursuing custody rights to your child with an ex-partner, the amount of emotion behind negotiations and litigation is immeasurable because your relationship is at stake. At The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl, our family law attorneys appreciate why parents are overwhelmed with tension, fear, and anger during a custody dispute. You never planned for your children to be in such a tense situation. Our experienced attorneys can help you navigate this challenging process while minimizing the emotional trauma involved.

Types of Custody and Visitation in Maryland and DC

Before you begin negotiating custody and visitation rights or filing for these rights, discussing with an experienced child custody attorney what you hope to accomplish with your demands is critical. It would be best if you also had a clear understanding of the two primary types of child custody under state law and how it could impact your and your ex-partner’s relationship with your child:
  • Physical custody means your child will physically reside with you and depend on you to make short-term life decisions that affect their day-to-day experiences while growing up.
  • Legal custody gives a parent long-term authority regarding their child’s upbringing in matters like education, the type of healthcare they receive, and more. 
Further complicating child custody are the different degrees of participation you may receive, including:
  • Joint custody gives both parents equal participation in decision-making for the child
  • Shared custody allows a certain degree of responsibility for multiple children
  • Sole custody awards total responsibility of a child to one parent alone
These potential outcomes can make it easy to be overwhelmed during a child custody and visitation case, which makes consulting with a skilled attorney crucial.

Common Visitation Arrangements

While creating a child visitation schedule with your former spouse or partner can be frustrating and time-consuming, the result will ultimately be in the best interest of your child. Typically, both parents agree that their schedule will accommodate their work schedules, extracurricular activities, and other factors. When a mutual agreement is not possible, a family court judge will create one for you, which frequently ends up with parents not receiving the amount of visitation or custody rights they had hoped.

Whether ordered or mutually agreed upon, you will likely receive a visitation order similar to the categories below:

Fixed Schedule

For parents who want minimal contact with one another, a fixed visitation schedule is an ideal solution. This is typically created by the court handling your case and will specify precisely which days and times you can exercise your visitation rights with your child.

Reasonable Schedule

When parents can continue communicating beyond divorce or separation and prioritize their child’s well-being, they often use a reasonable visitation schedule. This makes it possible for both parties to participate in raising their children. Being more flexible, parents can set up programs and pick up / drop off locations for visits and generally have minor issues with navigating work schedule accommodations independently.

Supervised Visitation

Sometimes, one parent has established a pattern of behavior regarding drug use, alcohol abuse, or violent behavior that poses a risk to a child’s well-being and safety. The court may require an authorized third-party to supervise that parent’s visitation with their child until no longer necessary.

No Visitation

Under dire circumstances, a court may decide that a parent should not contact their child. This is usually in cases where any form of visitation would prove more harmful than good. Usually, this denial of visitation is due to previous abuse of the child or the parent being unable to interact with their child appropriately.

Consult with Experienced Child Custody Attorneys

Regardless of your personal wishes for custody and/or visitation with your child, the law requires your child’s best interests to be the top priority in any decision by the court. Being a fit parent is not enough to ensure you get all your demands met, and often you will have to demonstrate how you benefit your child’s life and development.

As experienced family law and child custody attorneys, we at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl have years of successful case outcomes regarding these highly sensitive matters. Lead attorney Thomas Stahl has helped thousands of families throughout the state negotiate custody and visitation situations that benefit their parent-child relationship after divorce and/or separation. Contact his firm today at (410) 696-4326 or (202) 964-7280, or reach us online, to schedule a consultation.

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