top of page

Elkton’s Premier Child Custody Attorney 

 Representing Cecil & Harford Counties 

Our Top-Rated Maryland Child Custody Attorney in Elkton, Maryland
Focuses on Protecting What's Important!

Child Custody Cecil County

Your children's welfare is paramount, whether it's during a divorce or a custody dispute. Establishing a comprehensive custody and visitation agreement in Maryland is key to reducing conflict and providing stability for your family.

At the Law Office of Chelsea M. Sadler LLC, we understand the difficulties couples face when trying to reach a custody agreement. Our priority is to help you design a plan that considers your children's best interests and addresses the unique dynamics of your family.

While we encourage parents to work together to create an agreement, we recognize that it's not always possible. In such cases, the court will step in and make a custody determination based on what is in the best interests of the child.

Rest assured, our experienced team is here to support you throughout the Maryland custody process. We will provide knowledgeable guidance, present compelling arguments, and fight to protect your children's well-being. Don't leave your children's future to chance. Contact us today to discuss your custody concerns, and let us assist you in creating a comprehensive agreement that sets the foundation for a harmonious co-parenting relationship.

There are two types of custody arrangements for children in Maryland:


Legal Custody and Physical Custody.

Legal Custody in Cecil & Harford Counties in Maryland

Legal custody addresses the question of which parent will make important decisions for their children. Important decisions include subjects such as non-emergency medical treatment, education, and religious upbringing. Although there is no presumption that joint legal custody is most appropriate, courts are inclined to award joint legal custody where the evidence demonstrates that parties can communicate effectively and reach shared decisions regarding their child or children.

Joint Legal Custody in Cecil & Harford Counties in Maryland

Where parties share joint legal custody, both parents have an obligation to inform and discuss important issues with the other parent before taking any affirmative action. In addition, both parents must agree on the course of action before it is initiated. For example, if one parent wants to place the child in psychological counseling, both parents must consent to such treatment before any provider begins therapy.

Sole Legal Custody in Cecil & Harford Counties in Maryland

Sole legal custody means that only one parent has sole decision-making authority regarding important decisions in the child's life. In a sole legal custody arrangement, the parent with legal custody must not consult with the other parent before making important decisions for their child.

Hybrids in Cecil & Harford Counties in Maryland

Under some circumstances, courts will award a hybrid of joint and sole legal custody. Hybrids can be specific to the final decision maker or divide up decision-making responsibility. For example:

1. The parties share joint legal custody, but in an impasse the mother has tie-breaking authority.
2. The parties have joint legal custody regarding religious and non-emergency medical treatment, but the father has sole legal custody concerning academic decisions.

Physical Custody in Cecil & Harford Counties in Maryland

Physical custody refers to where the child is physically spending his or her time. Physical custody and its various forms are referred to by many different labels, including, but not limited to, sole custody, joint custody, shared custody, and visitation.


The "Best Interest" of the Child

The court uses the "best interest" standard when deciding the custodial arrangements for children. In determining the best interest of a child, the court may consider the following factors, among others:

  • Fitness of the parent

  • Character and reputation of the parents

  • The willingness of each parent to share custody

  • Relationship between the child and each parent

  • Potential disruption of particular custody arrangement upon a child's social and school life

  • The geographic proximity of parents' homes

  • The desire of the natural parents and the terms of any agreements between them

  • The likelihood of maintaining natural family relations

  • The preference of a child when the child is of sufficient age and capacity to make a rational judgment

  • Opportunities affecting the future life of the child

  • Age, health, and gender of the child

  • Suitability of the homes of the parents and whether a non-custodial parent will have adequate opportunities for visitation

  • Length of time of any separation between a child and natural parent

  • Effect of any prior voluntary abandonment of the child

  • Demands of each parent's employment

  • The financial status of each parent

After the court determines what custodial arrangement is in the child's best interest, the judge will sign an order setting the terms of the arrangement. This order will govern the custodial arrangement until the child reaches 18 or until either parent seeks a modification of the custody order.


Modification of Custody Orders

The court can only modify a custody order if a parent is able to establish that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the last court order. A change in circumstances can be almost anything, but the moving party must establish that the change has some impact on the child's best interest. Some examples of a substantial change in circumstances may be the remarriage of a parent, the relocation of a parent, drug use of a parent, change in academic performance, or change in living conditions. Once the court determines that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred, the court will reevaluate the current facts and make a new determination based on the child's best interest.


Over 10 Years of Legal Experience

Request a Consultation

Managing the legal aspects of your family can be time-consuming and confusing. Our firm's team is compassionate, professional, and works to ensure that you retain what matters to you and your family. 

bottom of page