Prince George’s County Child Custody

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Prince George’s County Child Custody Attorney

Child custody is usually one of those unavoidable topics during a divorce or separation between parents in Prince George’s County and throughout Maryland. However, regardless of the reasons for ending the relationship, state laws require parents to make decisions that are in their child(ren)’s best interest. That is where a Prince George’s County child custody attorney comes in.

What Does a Child Custody Attorney Do?

A child custody attorney helps parents and guardians determine the terms of legal and physical custody of children in the event of divorce, separation, or other family law matters. In addition, these attorneys provide legal representation to parents in and out of court, assist in negotiating and drafting custody agreements, and help enforce court orders regarding child custody and visitation rights. Ultimately, the primary role of a child custody attorney is to advocate for the best interests of their client’s children.

What Is the Legal Definition of Child Custody in Maryland?

In Maryland, child custody is simply defined as physical and legal custody of a child.

Physical custody refers to where (the location) a child physically resides. On the other hand, legal custody refers to a parent’s or guardian’s right to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, such as education, medical care, and religion.

How Does Child Custody Work in Prince George’s County, Maryland?

Prince George’s County’s child support system is governed by the state laws of Maryland and the county’s court procedures. Here is an overview of how this system works.

When parents divorce or separate, they are legally required to decide matters relating to child custody. The process of determining child custody in Prince George’s County typically involves the following steps:

Filing a custody complaint

One parent may file a complaint with the court seeking custody. Or, the court may initiate a custody case as part of a divorce or separation proceedings.


The Circuit Court may recommend medication to reach a mutually acceptable custody agreement. If the parents agree, the agreement will be submitted to the court for review and approval.

Custody hearing

If the parents cannot agree through mediation or other processes, the court will schedule a hearing to determine custody. At the hearing, both parents will have the opportunity to present evidence and testimony to support their position on this matter.

Custody order

After considering the evidence and testimony presented, the court will issue a custody order. The custody order will specify the terms of legal and physical custody and may also include a visitation schedule.

It is important to note that Circuit Courts in Prince George’s County and throughout Maryland will always consider the child’s best interests when making custody decisions. The court may also consider factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, each parent’s ability to provide for the child, and the child’s own preferences. The latter only applies if the child is old enough to have a meaningful opinion regarding conservatorship.

Conservatorship is the alternate word for ‘custody’ in Maryland. There are different types of conservatorships, as discussed below.

Types of Conservatorships in Maryland Custody Cases

The Free State, as Marland is proudly referred to, has two types of conservatorships (custody) that may be awarded in a custody case: legal and physical.

Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. For example, the parent with legal custody can make decisions regarding the child’s education, medical care, and religion. In addition, a parent with legal custody has the authority to make decisions about the child’s welfare and future.

In Maryland, the court may award joint legal custody. This type of legal custody gives both parents shared decision-making authority. On the other hand, sole legal custody gives only one parent the right to make decisions about the child.

Physical custody refers to (the location) where a child physically resides. The court may award joint physical custody, meaning the child splits time between both parents. The other option is sole physical custody, which means the child lives with one parent and visits the other according to a particular schedule.

How Is Child Custody Determined in Prince George’s County, Maryland?

The Circuit Court will determine child custody based on the child’s best interests. To put it into perspective, the court will consider the following factors when making a custody determination:

The child’s relationship with each parent: This includes the child’s emotional bonds with each parent and the quality and stability of the relationships.

The ability of each parent to provide for the child: This also includes each parent’s ability to provide a safe, stable, and loving environment for the child.

The child’s own preferences: In some cases, the court may consider the child’s preferences when making a custody determination, particularly if the child is over 16.

The child’s need for stability: The Circuit Court will prioritize the child’s need for stability and continuity, including factors such as age, school situation, and community ties.

Any history of abuse or neglect by either parent: If any of the parents have a history of being abusive toward the other, the court will likely consider this factor when determining custody. And because the court wants what’s best for the child, it is highly unlikely that the abusive parent will be granted custody.

Other equally important factors that could come into play when determining child custody include the parents’ work schedules and the child’s relationship with extended family members.

Common Joint Custody Schedules in Maryland

As discussed earlier, joint custody means that both parents share physical and/or legal custody of the child. When joint custody is awarded, the court will typically approve a custody schedule that outlines when the child will be with each parent.

Let’s take a look at some common joint custody schedules in Maryland:

The 50/50 custody

This alternates the child’s time between both parents on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, with each parent having the child for an equal amount of time.

The 2-2-3 schedule

This schedule alternates the child’s time between both parents on a bi-weekly basis, with one parent having the child for two days, followed by the other parent having the child for two days, and then the first parent having the child for three days.

Week on/week off

One parent keeps the child for one week. The child then stays with the other parent the following week.

Every other weekend

This schedule allows one parent to have the child for most of the week and the other parent to have the child every other weekend.

Summer schedule

A variation of the every other weekend schedule, it provides for one parent to have the child for a longer period of time during the summer months.

It is worth mentioning that the court will always consider what is best for the child, regardless of what the parents agree on. This is one of the reasons why it is always advisable to consult an experienced Prince George’s County child custody attorney to ensure the decisions you make meet the court’s expectations regarding the child’s best interests.

More Reasons To Hire a Child Custody Attorney

Besides helping you plan a child custody schedule, a seasoned family law attorney can be an invaluable resource. Here are more reasons to engage such an attorney when determining child custody issues.

Child custody laws can be complex; we get that. At Divorce With a Plan, our child custody attorneys have the legal knowledge and experience to guide you through the process and represent your interests.

Our lawyers are familiar with the court system in Prince George’s County and Maryland. As a result, we know how to navigate the legal process to achieve the best outcome for you and your child.

In many cases, child custody disputes can be resolved through mediation or negotiation. A child custody attorney can help you reach a mutually acceptable agreement with the other parent, avoiding a long and stressful court battle.

That said, the truth is that each family is different. Sometimes, going to court is usually the only way to obtain a favorable outcome. And when that time comes, you want an attorney who will advocate for your rights and your child’s best interests both in and out of court. That’s what defines us as a leading family law firm in Prince George’s County.

Another thing you need to know is that the child custody process involves a lot of legal paperwork. This can be overwhelming, even for some inexperienced attorneys. And given how sensitive and important this matter is, the last thing you want is to make mistakes that could affect your child’s upbringing. An experienced attorney from Divorce With a Plan can prepare and file the necessary legal documents to initiate or respond to a custody case, including motions, pleadings, and agreements.

Talk to a Child Custody Lawyer With a Plan

The issue of child custody cannot be solved without a proper plan. As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail. That is why you need an attorney who understands your unique situation and can provide a personalized plan that protects your rights as a parent and considers your child’s best interests. If that is what you are looking for, all you need is a consultation with an experienced Prince George’s County child custody attorney from Divorce With a Plan. Contact us today.