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Baltimore County & Towson Family Law Firm Handling Child Custody Hearings

Child Custody Lawyer With Expertise Handling Hearings in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County 

Distinguished Child Custody Litigator 

Amar S. Weisman focuses on protecting parental time, rights, and integrity, impacting both parents and children significantly. The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman, a dedicated Family Law Firm in Towson, has managed over 675 unique custody cases, accumulating extensive knowledge from years of experience. Amar starts each case by setting realistic custody goals with clients and centers on substantive actions to secure results, not excuses, through settlement or trial. He enhances effectiveness by specializing exclusively in family law, primarily operating from the County Courts Building at 401 Bosley Avenue. Despite remote work following the Covid-19 Pandemic, Amar never compromises on building strong relationships with clients and prioritizing thorough, fact-based communication. In child custody litigation, integrity is paramount.

The Child Custody Litigation Process Is Challenging

The Child Custody process in Baltimore County and surrounding areas involves complex procedures dictated by track assignments. Cases unfold with multiple court events including scheduling, settlement, and status conferences, as well as contempt hearings. These proceedings are influenced by the Covid-19 Pandemic's lasting impact on the courts. The process is defined under three unique track assignments as per the Differentiated Case Management Plans. Beyond the parties, lawyers, and judges, custody evaluators, best interest attorneys, and home study evaluators play crucial roles. Unfortunately, investigations by the Department of Social Services & Child Protective Services are also common, involving the Family Services Division, public and private mediators, and various other stakeholders. Successful legal strategies hinge on understanding these components and crafting plans tailored to each case's specifics. Amar S. Weisman ensures clients comprehend each stage of their case and maintains rigorous factual investigation until resolution.

Issues in Child Custody Litigation 

Child custody litigation involves every aspect of the child's life and many aspects of the parent's life, and the Court has a lot of discretion to do what it deems best. Cw boils down to the fact that judges have a lot of power, but, then again, so do parents. The facts of the case also s power. Here are some issues that increasingly arise during child custody litigation:

  • Allegations of Abuse/Neglect
  • Parental Access Investigations 
  • Relocation from Maryland to another state (increasingly Texas and North Carolina but still many to neighboring Virginia and Pennsylvania)
  • Breakdown of communications. 
  • Ting children from parents with substance abuse problems. 
  • I have child support accurately in an age of digital currency, paid unemployment, and a growing number of independent contractors. 
  • Dealing with stubborn parents seeking 50-50 Custody to avoid paying child support (those seeking custody to avoid paying support are respectfully requested to seek counsel from other law firms 
  • Empowering children to succeed under parental arrangements provide the best opportunities, for the children, in an age when not all schools o excellent educations. 
  • W with children who try to take control o the custody process, sometimes under the undue influence of one parent seeking to undermine the other. 
  • Holiday visitation disputes concerning Christmas, Eid-1, Eid-2, Passover, and other f  occasions, like the birthdays of the children and the parents. In a diverse world, reconciling the interests of different parents wanting to celebrate v holidays is a trend in Baltimore County. 

How Amar Weisman Helps Clients In Child Custody Litigation 

  • Preparing Complaints for Custody, Custody Modification, and Contempt. 
  • Representation at all s court conferences and events. 
  • Preparation for public/private mediation 
  • Communicating with the Court, including Civil Assignment, Central Assignment, and the Family Services Division. 
  • Preparing, Obtaining, and Responding to Discovery. 
  • Corresponding and Negotiating with Opposing Counsel 
  • Identifying relevant evidence from schools, health care providers, daycare providers, and witnesses and getting the evidence from the origin in arm under the Maryland Rules of Evidence. 
  • Joint Statements Regarding Decision Making Authority and Parenting Time along and Maryland Child Custody Tools that are effective and provide the Court with what it needs, nothing more and nothing less. 
  • Helps each client respond to positions and actions taken by the other parent in a manner that protects the purity of the record. 
  • Harvesting Electronically Stored Information. 
  • Preparing the Client for Court.
  • I am calibrating realistic goals that can be pursued in a businesslike manner.  

The Children As Witnesses in Custody Litigation 

Children are increasingly called upon to provide input or testimony in custody litigation. They may testify in chambers, communicate with custody evaluators, involve the police, or interact with social workers. When children testify on camera, their statements are relayed directly to the judge and summarized. The importance of posing the right questions is crucial and demands careful consideration. The involvement of children in these proceedings is critical, as it helps shape the legal strategy for each case by considering the children's actions, their social and developmental statuses, and the contents of their mobile devices.

The Circuit Court for Baltimore County has established protocols for managing holiday visitation disputes around mid-November to mid-December, requiring cases to be heard before the holidays. Attorneys must submit case details to the family law case manager in advance for the dispute to be reviewed by a judge from the family law docket. In Baltimore County, resolving a holiday visitation dispute hinges on the presence of an existing court order that governs holiday arrangements. Parties should contact the law firm promptly to ensure parental access during the holiday season. Similar disputes in Anne Arundel County, Harford County, and Howard County are subject to different rules and case management plans, reflecting the unique approaches of each jurisdiction.

Scheduling Conferences Impacted By Covid-19 

Due to Covid-19, most settlement conferences in custody matters take place remotely using Zoom or traditional telephony. Conducting the m online means the process is truncated, more subtle, and requires additional &  attention to detail. P at the law firm office when the situation demands it. C p tax returns, W, and 1099 forms to counsel b the scheduling conference. Clients need to hire an attorney they trust and let go of any illusions that the process can be controlled or understood by the clients. It is not a science; it is an art. The following points are worthy of consideration: 

  • The settlement conference is not a trial.
  • P bring witnesses to a settlement conference. 
  • Do not expect to testify at a Baltimore County settlement conference, but know you might very well testify at a settlement conference in Anne Arundel County or Harford County. 
  • If you want to set up temporary child custody or temporary child support, it is possible to place an agreement on the record in front of the magistrate.
  • Seek temporary visitation child support. If appropriate, we will come prepared with SASI Worksheet conforming to MD Code, Family Law §12-202.
  • Strategically low which issues will and will not be contested. It is e a tew or too few contested m.
  • Help the client complete the Social Services screening accurately and in a manner that c flags whatever services would help the case development.
  • Request appropriate court services, such as a custody e, which is defined as a study and analysis of the needs and development of a child who is the subject of an action or proceeding under this Chapter and of the abilities of the parties to care for the child and meet the child's needs."
  • In The Circuit Court for Harford County, the Court may hold an initial hearing with evidence to establish a temporary visitation if one parent has no access to the minor child.

Baltimore County Requires Mediation in Most Child Custody Matters.

In cases where the matter is not settled in front of the family division m at the settlement conference, the Circuit Court for Baltimore County will generally require the parties to attend child custody mediation unless there is a reason not to attend mediation, such as domestic violence u MD Rule §9-205. Although the mediation may take place at the time of the Settlement Conference, this is rare and will usually be set up a few weeks after the Settlement Conference (this may depend on whether the case is set for the Family Law Expedited, Family Law Normal or Family Law Complex Track). H where mediation does not produce an agreement, it can be b for understanding the opposing party's positions and the arguments raised in the future.

The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman p clients for mediation by developing concrete positions and proposals to be used during the mediation. We find it best to enter mediation with a c understanding of what you want and why. This increases the chance of success. We review e terms with the client, including the main elements of legal and residential custody, and discuss how to approach the Child Access Schedule. One of the most important things is helping the client realize how inserting certain words o phrases into a parenting plan can impact the child in real-life.

 

Pendente Lite Hearings in Baltimore County.

The purpose of the Pendente Lite Hearing is to set up temporary child support and temporary alimony numbers that allow the dependent spouse to maintain the status quo living while the Litigation is pending. The strategy for the Pendente Lite hearing varies greatly depending on which side we represent. At a minimum, the preparation will involve preparing the client for direct examination, cn, developing questions for the opposing party, and exhibits c being mindful of the Hearsay Rule and the Best Evidence Rule.

Baltimore County Settlement Court.

Before the Settlement Conference, where the lawyers will speak with the retired judge (generally while the clients wait), your Towson Family Lawyer will work with you to simplify your case and emphasize the best evidence for the brief presentation to the retired judge. Your Baltimore Divorce Lawyer & Baltimore Custody Lawyer will use t Negotiation Skill Set to reach a compromise (if the client's goal is to g an s).

The Circuit Court for Baltimore County Child Custody Merits Trial.

The merits trial resolves all outstanding disputes and differences that have not been resolved by and between the parties. The t includes the presentation of the following:

  • Opening arguments by the attorneys for each party. If t is t Best Interest Attorney, s/he may provide an opening statement.
  • Fact witnesses I the parents, family members, personal friends, friends of the family, ministers, police officers, and social workers. C custody evaluators, domestic violence advocates, and colleagues. T and child counselors.
  • Expert witnesses, including any private child custody evaluators who make. R after interviewing the parties, the children, t collateral witnesses, school records, and medical records, these witnesses can identify relevant patterns like parental alienation syndrome.
  • Best Interest Attorney questions and findings, and any final recommendations.
  • P by the attorneys include photographs, previous court orders, custody evaluator reports, prescription medication records, neuropsychological evaluations, academic progress reports, and report cards.
  • Closing arguments by the Plaintiff's Counsel and Defendant's Counsel.

In child custody cases, the judge is afforded significant judicial discretion to t minor child's best interest.

Emergency Hearings

The vast majority of requests for emergency hearings are denied. The standard for obtaining an emergency hearing in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County is very high, and it is set forth in the Differentiated Case Management Plan. To qualify as an emergency, a dispute has to be more than the grounds for your complaint or your petition for contempt. Here is what probably does NOT qualify as an emergency: 

  • Failing to Follow the Custody Schedule 
  • Being Late for Visitations
  • Communicating Rudely/Profanely 
  • Threatening to Lie in Court or to Win in Court
  • Not Paying Child Support 
  • Parental Alienation 
  • Not Setting Up a Sensible Visitation Schedule 

What does qualify as an emergency, then? Generally, to prevail in a Motion for Emergency Hearing (the vehicle for any form of Emergency hearings in Baltimore County), there has to be the somewhat likely threat of bodily harm:

  • The other parent has a history of substance abuse and is exhibiting signs of substance abuse as of now 
  • The other parent obtained a passport without your knowledge and is following through with threats to relocate with the child to another country that is outside of the Hague Convention. 
  • The other parent has been charged with a violent felony, such as child molestation, murder, or aggravated assault, and has a history of committing violence against you or the Minor Child. 
  • Child Protective Services has issued a FINDING of ABUSE or NEGLECT (not just being "called" but the report with a negative finding either being likely or having been produced and delivered to you. 
  • The Minor Child reports serious and provable child physical abuse. This would not include having hygiene neglected. If there is verbal abuse that has led to psychiatric care or a tangible physical manifestation documented by an expert preferably more than the pediatrician but a child abuse center. 

or, possibly, an imminent far-away unauthorized relocation. 

Call For a Consultation With Towson Divorce & Custody Lawyer Amar S. Weisman.

Please Call (410) 321-4994 during business hours to schedule a free consultation t whether you want to retain Amar S. Weisman. The firm does not accept pro bono clients at this time. To h legal services and advice, you must pay a retainer, See Policy on Fees/Costs. The law firm is located in the heart of Towson near The Circuit Court For Baltimore County, Towson Town Center, Goucher College, and Towson University, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road (MD-146), Second Floor Towson, MD 21204. We represent clients throughout the Baltimore area, including Aberdeen, Abingdon, Baldwin, Bel Air, Bowleys Quarters, Brooklandville, Carney, Catonsville, Cockeysville, Edgewood, Essex, Garrison, Glen Arm, Greenspring Valley, Homeland, Hunt Valley, Hydes, the Joppa Road Corridor, Kingsville, Long Green, Lutherville, Middle River, Nottingham, Owings Mills, Parkville, Pikesville, Perry Hall, Reisterstown, Riderwood, Rodgers Forge, Rosedale, Ruxton, Sparks, Sparrows Point, Stoneleigh, Timonium, Towson, West Towson, White Hall, White Marsh, and the York Road corridor. We have also represented s out-of-state clients. The law firm does not guarantee the results in any matter