Annapolis Child Custody Support Attorneys Uphold Your Rights
Trusted counsel regarding child custody and support for clients throughout Maryland
Whether a couple was married and is now divorcing, or never married, determining child custody and child support is often a challenging process that can be fraught with conflict. When you are going through the painful times, it can be difficult to see a clear solution. The Annapolis family law attorneys of Peters & Clark, P.A. have extensive experience guiding clients through the process of divorce, negotiating custody and support while safeguarding the best interests of the child.
Child custody basics in Maryland
When a couple with children divorces, they must decide who will have legal custody and/or physical custody over the children (or whether joint custody is the better option). This will involve developing a Parenting Plan Agreement, which your Annapolis family law attorney can help you develop before you present your side to the other parent. If you and the other parent are unable to come to an agreement, the court will do so for you. The Parenting Plan Agreement includes:
- Visitation schedule
- A schedule for holidays and vacations
- Details about pickups and drop-offs (where and when)
- Emergency backup plans
- Details about school and extracurricular activities
- Medical, dental, and other information about the child’s health
- How the plan might be modified when circumstances change
All parents of minor children are mandated to take parenting classes, which can be done online or in person.
If the parent with physical custody needs to move, there is a legal process that they must follow, which gives the other parent the opportunity to voice their concerns.
Some parents may face additional challenges when it comes to custody. Same-sex couples have the same custodial rights and privileges regarding children as long as a second-parent adoption is in place (though this may change soon, with the recent SCOTUS decision in Pavan v. Smith). Military families all work through a unique set of challenges when it comes to deciding child custody, especially when one or both parents must relocate more frequently.
The attorneys of Peters & Clark, P.A. leverage their skill and experience to guide clients through the process of establishing a custody agreement which considers the child’s best interests first.
A primer on child support in Maryland
When a couple divorces, or when a never-married couple has a child together, each one has a legal responsibility for the financial support of their child. Child support is intended to cover the necessary expense of raising a child, which might include things such as:
- Child care expenses
- School expenses
- Health insurance
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses
- Shelter, food and clothing expenses
Maryland has child support guidelines in place which Annapolis families must follow as they work out the agreement for calculating how much child support one parent will pay to the other for the child’s financial support.
Parents are obligated to pay child support until the child is 18 years old or until the child has graduated from high school (but not if the child is older than aged 19 and is still currently enrolled in high school). Parents are not legally obligated to pay for the child’s college education, either. If both parents decide to contribute to the child’s college education, they can come to an agreement on those details and make it part of the child support agreement, which may be enforced by the court.
Child support modifications and enforcement
If the parent who is paying child support can demonstrate to the court that there has been a material change of circumstances since the child support order was established, it may be modified. If a parent is not paying child support in accordance with the Order, the receiving parent may take advantage of several legal options for enforcing the child support order, which your Annapolis family law attorney can facilitate on your behalf.
Skilled Annapolis attorneys protecting financial support and time with the children
Peters & Clark, P.A., is an elite family law firm serving the needs of Annapolis families. To reserve a consultation to discuss your child custody and visitation goals, please call 410-921-2422 or fill out the firm’s contact form.