Towson Child Custody Lawyer | Custody Hearings.
Distinguished Child Custody Litigator
Amar S. Weisman is an award-winning courtroom advocate focusing on child custody litigation in Baltimore County. He has represented mothers and fathers at more than 1,000 hearings, including at the County Courts Building at 401 Bosley Avenue and, with the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic, he has appeared on behalf of clients using Zoom for Government.
The Child Custody Litigation Process
navigated hundreds of divorce and custody matters in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County and the surrounding jurisdictions. He understands how court filings, mandatory screening and framing the issues will impact the long term litigation and potentially the outcome of your case. In Annapolis, Bel Air, Baltimore City, Ellicott City & Towson, settlement conferences have multiple components where attorneys present information th;e the magistrates and family division screening personnel. During the course of representing clients at settlement conferences, Mr. Weisman has even encountered visiting employees of international courts who travel to Towson to learn about how things are done here. It is not a complete exaggeration to note tha Family Division Magistrates of Baltimore County are setting the standard for the rest of the world at least somewhat. Unfortunately, the nuances, meaning and process that occurs at settlement conferences are difficult for clients to understand. Amar S. Weisman makes every effort to educate clients before going to court. However, it took Mr. Weisman years to understand it all and it is important for parties to know on a basic level what they do not know, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic adds a random element to the judicial process. At the Scheduling Conference, the Court calendars future hearings, determines which issues are contested, establishes deadlines, sets up parenting classes & mediation, and conducts an initial screening for social services pursuant to MD Rule 2-504.1. If you retain The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman, we will: .
Holiday Visitation Disputes For The 2020 Holiday Season
The Circuit Court for Baltimore County has a special protocol in effect for managing holiday visitation disputes between November 16, 2020 and December 18, 2020, meaning the disputes must be managed somewhat before certain holidays. The protocol requires attorneys to submit information to the family law case manager in order for the holiday visitation to be heard by one of the judges assigned to the family law docket. For the 2020 holiday season, the family law judges include Judges Bailey, Cavenaugh, Jakubowski, King and Purpura. If you have a holiday visitation dispute in Baltimore County, please contact the law firm immediately to protect your parental access to your children during the holiday season. Please note that the resolution of a holiday visitation dispute depends on whether there is an existing court order with the force of law governing the holiday season. parties without court orders in existence cannot employ the narrowly tailored holiday dispute system. The Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, the Circuit Court for Harford County, and the Circuit Court for Howard County have unique rules and case management plans that are different from Baltimore County.
Due to Covid-19, most settlement conferences in custody matters take place remotely using Zoom or Skype or traditional telephony. Conducting the conference online means the process is truncated, more subtle and actually requires additional & attention to detail. When the situation calls for it, Mr. Weisman and the client can participate together at the law firm office. It is improtant for clients to provide tax returns, W-2 and 1099 forms to counsel in advance of the scheduling conference. Clients need to hire an attorney they trust, 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.
- Do not 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 a temporary agreement on the record in front of the magistrate.
- Seek temporary visitation and/or child support. If appropriate, we will come prepared with a SASI Worksheet conforming to MD Code, Family Law §12-202.
- Strategically inform the court about which issues will and will not be contested. It is important not to have too many or too few contested issues.
- Help the client complete the Social Services screening accurately and in a manner that properly flags whatever services would actually help the case development.
- Request appropriate court services, such as a custody evalua5uon, 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 agistrate 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 pursuant to 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). Even where mediation does not produce an agreement, it can be very useful for understanding the opposing party's positions and the arguments that will be raised in the future.
The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman prepares clients for mediation by developing concrete positions and proposals to be used during the mediation. We find that it is best to enter mediation with a full understanding of what you want and why. This increases the chance of success. We review important terms with the client, including the main elements of legal custody 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 of 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 standard of 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, cross examination, developing incisive questions for the opposing party, and the identification of exhibits consistent 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 his Negotiation Skill Set to reach a compromise (if the client's goal is to reach a reasonable compromise).
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 trial includes the presentation of:
- Opening arguments by the attorneys for each party. If here is a Best Interest Attorney, s/he may also provide an opening statement
- Fact witnesses including the parents, family members, personal friends, friends of the family, ministers, police officers, social workers. court-appointed custody evaluators, domestic violence advocates, colleagues. teachers and child counselors.
- Expert witnesses including any private child custody evaluators who make. recommendation after interviewing the parties, the children, third party 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.
- Exhibits introduced by the attorneys including 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 make an decision based on the best interest of the minor child.
Please Call (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free Consultation. The purpose of the consultation is to decide whether you want to hire Amar S. Weisman. To obtain legal services, you must pay a retainer, see Policy on Fees/Costs. The law firm is next to The Circuit Court For Baltimore County,at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204. We represent clients throughout the Baltimore area including Aberdeen. Abingdon, Bel Air, Bowleys Quarters, Catonsville, Cockeysville, Edgewood, Essex, Lutherville, Owings Mills, Parkville, Perry Hall, Rosedale, Sparrows Point, Timonium, Towson, Westminster and White Marsh.