Child Custody Lawyer in Queen Anne’s County
Representing Parents in Custody Disputes
At Matthew Penick Law, we have extensive experience handling all types of child custody disputes. Whether your custody dispute arises during your divorce, after your divorce, or with the unmarried parent of your child, our family law attorney knows how to help you move forward.
We understand the stress involved for parents in any child custody matter. We know that these cases can threaten your relationship with your child and affect your family for years to come. Matthew Penick will always fight to protect your parental rights and your child’s best interests.
Involved in a child custody dispute? Request a free consultation by calling Matthew Penick Law at (410) 618-0863.
Types of Child Custody in Maryland
As in most states, custody in Maryland is divided into two categories:
- Legal custody, in which a parent is responsible for making basic life decisions concerning a child’s education, religion, health care, and other important matters
- Physical custody, which determines with whom the child will live and includes day-to-day decisions
Both legal and physical custody may be awarded jointly or solely. Thus, both parents may have joint legal custody while only one has physical custody or vice versa. Joint physical custody may also not translate to a completely 50-50 arrangement.
How Is Child Custody Determined in Maryland?
Generally, Maryland courts prefer to award joint custody to make sure the child enjoys an ongoing relationship with both parents. However, if a parent is deemed unfit, he or she will not be awarded custody. Unfitness is generally based on a parent’s history of domestic violence, child abuse, or substance abuse.
Maryland courts do not favor mothers over fathers when it comes to custody. Their goal is to award custody based on what is best for the child. Furthermore, custody arrangements can be modified by the courts at later times when it is deemed appropriate and in a child’s best interests.
Child Custody Mistakes to Avoid
During a child custody dispute, it is important that you follow simple procedures to avoid jeopardizing you case:
- Speaking negatively about your spouse: The situation between you and your spouse is undoubtedly tense and hostile, but you should still watch what you say, especially in front of your children. The things you say about your spouse might come back to haunt you in court and a judge might perceive this as the sign of a bad temper or uncooperative nature.
- Using your children as messengers: Although you want to deal with your spouse as little as possible, you should still deliver your own messages instead of putting your children in an uncomfortable situation. A judge will not look favorably upon a parent who puts their children in the middle of a fight. Even if the message seems relatively innocuous to you, the act of using your children as a go-between is still damaging to their general well-being.
- Refusing to cooperate: No one expects you to readily agree to everything in the midst of a child custody dispute, but you should be willing to compromise and cooperate. If a judge believes you are being unreasonable or purposefully obstinate, it will harm your chances of obtaining child custody.
- Not being involved enough: If you want custody of your children, you cannot be a flakey co-parent. Make sure you pick them up and drop them off on time, attend their afterschool activities, help them with their homework, and show an interest in being part of their lives. It probably sounds like common sense, but with so much happening in your life, it is easy to let some things fall by the wayside.
- Remaining active on social media: Continuing to use social media is a major gamble for anyone going through a divorce. Your posts might seem harmless to you, but keep in mind that anything can be damaging when taken out of context. If you show bad judgment on social media, a judge might factor this into the child custody order.
Child Custody Cases in Queen Anne's County
At Matthew Penick Law, our child custody experience includes court appointments for the representation of children in contested custody cases. These court appointments require specific training and experience. We have represented children of all ages and from all walks of life in these cases.
In contested custody and other matters, we try to settle outside of court to prevent protracted and contentious litigation. However, as a trial lawyer, our attorney is prepared to litigate your case when necessary.
Why Choose Matthew Penick Law?
Matthew is particularly experienced at handling child custody cases. In fact, he receives appointments by several local courts to represent children in contested custody cases. This appointment requires distinct training and experience. Matthew is dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of children in every custody case he handles.
Easy & Quick Communication & Free Initial Consultations
Competent Legal Representation in the Community
Outstanding Legal & Negotiating Skills
Personalized, Client-Centered Approach