Parents generally want what is best for their child. We know that children do best when parents are able to work together to create a custody arrangement that minimizes conflict between the parents and puts the child’s needs first.
Research shows that the single most important factor in determining how children fair after a divorce or separation is the level of parental conflict.
Unfortunately, custody issues are not always simple. While settlement through mediation or negotiation is usually the best option, sometimes legal intervention may be necessary. If litigation is necessary, we have a depth of experience and high standard of care that ensures our clients will be in the best position to persuasively present their cases in court.
While we view litigation as a last resort, particularly when custody is at issue, we have the skills to zealously represent our clients even in the most complicated cases.
There are two components to custody–legal and physical. Legal custody determines how major decisions regarding the child’s welfare are made, while physical custody determines the child’s day-to-day residential schedule.
The legal standard in both Maryland and Washington, D.C. is the best interest of the child. In Washington, D.C., there is a presumption of joint custody, whereas in Maryland there is no presumption of joint or sole custody. Furthermore, D.C. has a very progressive statute when it comes to third-party custody, including consideration of a de facto parent, which is someone who has been in the child’s life acting as a parent and meets the other requirements of the statute. Maryland has recognized similar rights for third parties who meet specific criteria.
In both Maryland and D.C., custody is modifiable if circumstances change following the initial agreement or court order.
McKinney Figini takes a child-focused approach to custody issues. We work to understand the unique dynamics of each family. While many families can easily create an arrangement that works for the parents as well as the children, some families require creative solutions and/or quick legal interventions.
Our attorneys have a wealth of experience addressing serious parenting concerns such as substance abuse, mental health struggles, and domestic violence. We have developed long-standing relationships with mental health professionals, which allows us to find the appropriate strategies for families in crisis.
Our attorneys are known in the legal community for a measured approach tailored to the specific needs of each particular family. With training and experience representing children, as well as parents, we have a unique perspective and approach to resolving custody disputes.
When parents can come to an amicable solution, whether through mediation or negotiation, they eliminate the risk of a court order that is not narrowly tailored to the needs of their child. The attorneys at McKinney Figini offer clients decades of combined experience.
Our relationships with mental health professionals give us a unique ability to craft appropriate solutions irrespective of the complexity of the family system. If you find yourself facing child custody issues, from simple to the most complex, we can help. You can reach our firm at (301) 818-9120. For your convenience, you can also complete our online contact form.