Child Custody And Support: Protect Your Parent-Child Relationship

During family law disputes, emotions run high. Disagreements regarding custody, time sharing and child support can quickly become heated. Unfortunately, minor children are often caught in the cross fire.

I am attorney Andrea Hirsch. I understand what you are going through, and I am here to help. When resolving child custody and support issues, my goal is always to protect your parental rights — but to do so in a way that minimizes damage to parental relationships and minor children.

In addition to helping clients obtain initial child custody and support orders, I also help clients modify existing orders after a significant work or living change.

Legal And Physical Custody

There are two types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody concerns a parent's right to make decisions regarding health care, education, religion and other significant matters. Physical custody concerns the amount of time children spend with each parent.

In D.C. and Maryland, courts favor joint legal custody. It is also common for parents to share physical custody, although the division of time may not be equal. Instead, a child may live primarily with one parent, while spending significant time with the other. When making custody decisions, the court has wide latitude to do what it deems in the "best interests of the children."

During a divorce or separation, many parents worry they won't get the time they need, and their relationships with their children will suffer as a result. While divorce or separation will impact your relationship with your children, it doesn't have to diminish it.

I am committed to helping you get the custody and visitation, or parenting time, you need to maintain strong bonds with your children.

Child Support

Washington, D.C., and Maryland have child support guidelines — formulas that calculate child support based on the number of children, the number of overnights and each parent's income. While these guidelines are a good starting point, they often fail to consider a child's unique needs.

Uncovered health care expenses, special educational needs, private education, expensive extracurricular activities, day care costs — none of these items are accounted for in the guidelines. I will help you negotiate a fair child support order that considers all of your child's financial needs and truly provides your child with the resources he or she needs.

For help with child custody or support issues, contact me at 202-480-2160 or online.