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Do I Need a Child Custody Lawyer?

The Baltimore child custody lawyers at The Bishop Law Group understand how difficult a divorce can be on partners and their families. As a parent, nothing matters more than protecting your relationship with your children. 

If you are dealing with any issue involving child custody, or if you have questions or concerns about protecting your rights as a parent, it is extremely important that you make informed decisions—and this means that you should discuss your situation with an attorney. 

Here are five common situations in which parents should consult with a child custody lawyer in Maryland: 

1. Having a Child (or Going Through a Separation) as an Unmarried Parent

Under Maryland law, unmarried fathers do not automatically receive any parental rights. While establishing paternity can be a fairly straightforward process if both parents are on board, even simple mistakes can be costly. As a result, it is best to work with an experienced child custody lawyer during this process. 

Unmarried mothers and fathers will also want to hire a child custody lawyer when going through a separation. When parents are not living together, they must adhere to a child custody arrangement that reflects Maryland’s “best interests of the child” factors

2. Preparing for a Divorce with Children 

Divorcing parents also need an experienced child custody lawyer. While child custody is just one aspect of the divorce process, it is an extremely important aspect, and both parents need to ensure that they are making informed decisions. If you are considering a divorce, you will want to work with a lawyer who can help you explore your options and develop a parenting plan that meets your needs while also serving your children’s best interests. 

In divorces (and separations), each parent should have his or her own child custody lawyer. A lawyer who represents both spouses will be limited in the advice he or she can provide; and, in the event of a dispute, the lawyer may have to withdraw his or her representation of one or both spouses. This is true not only with regard to child custody, but with regard to other aspects of the divorce process (i.e., child support, alimony, and property division) as well. 

3. Facing a Change in Circumstances that Impacts Your Child Custody Arrangement 

When you have a child custody order as the result of a divorce or separation, this order is legally binding—and violating it can have severe consequences. As a result, if your circumstances have changed (or if you are anticipating a major change), it is important that you seek a modification before doing anything that could jeopardize your parental rights.

While Maryland law limits the circumstances in which parents can seek to modify their parenting plans, a Baltimore child custody lawyer may be able to help you seek a modification in a variety of different circumstances. For example, relocation, remarriage, cohabitation, and concerns for your child’s safety are all potential grounds for modifying a child custody arrangement in Maryland. 

4. Enforcing Your Child Custody or Visitation Rights 

If your former spouse or partner is violating your custody or visitation rights, you should consult with a child custody lawyer promptly. As mentioned above, this is a very serious matter, and Maryland law provides clear legal remedies when parents violate the terms of their child custody arrangements. An experienced child custody lawyer will be able to assess your circumstances, explore your options, and help you choose the best path forward. 

5. Dealing with Any Other Child Custody-Related Issue

In addition to the issues discussed above, if you are dealing with any other child custody-related issue, you should discuss your situation with a child custody lawyer. In many cases, a lawyer will be able to help you resolve the issue amicably and without court involvement. But, your lawyer will also be able to protect your rights in court if necessary, and your lawyer will be able to help you consider alternatives such as family law mediation as well.  

Some examples of additional issues that typically require the advice and representation of an experienced child custody lawyer in Maryland include:

  • Paternity disputes
  • Disagreements regarding the terms of a parenting plan 
  • Allegations of child endangerment or neglect 
  • Arrests and incarceration
  • Grandparent custody rights 

Talk to a Baltimore Child Custody Lawyer Today

Do you have questions about your child custody rights as a parent in Maryland? If so, we can help, and we encourage you to contact us for a confidential initial consultation.

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To schedule an appointment with an experienced attorney, please call (410) 390-3101 or tell us how we can reach you online today.