Maryland Family Law Lawyer

Call for a Free Consultation

(301) 420-5540






Family Law Lawyer in Maryland


A legal guardian is someone that takes over day-to-day decision making and control of the child that the natural guardian cannot. The legal guardian will make all parenting decisions including requesting and accepting medical treatment on a child’s behalf, enroll the child in public school in the guardian’s community and provide for the child’s general welfare. Keep in mind this does not include financial responsibility as this still remains with the parents but depending on the parent’s situation, guardians often provide financial support.

It’s always best to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you with your specific case. Guardianship is a sub-set of custody and because most schools require custody to enroll a minor child, you should look into a kinship care arrangement. In order to obtain guardianship over a minor child, a third party should file a petition which your lawyer can help you with.

If the third party cannot find the child’s parents, the third party can file a motion asking the court to waive the notice. The third party will have to prove they’ve tried to locate the parents. If the identity of the father is not known, the third party can also ask the court to waive the notice requirement.

Keep in mind that if a blood relative is taking care of the minor child, guardianship or custody is not necessary to obtain social services, such as welfare payments or Medical Assistance. If you are a parent or a guardian that will be taking over the care of a minor child, call an experienced family law lawyer in Maryland at The Burton Firm who can help you with your case.

Adult Guardianship

As adults get older, many of them are not able to make decisions for themselves due to Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, a stroke, an accident or some other serious medical condition. If someone is no longer able to make important decisions for themselves, a judge will appoint a “guardian” to make those decisions. Those decisions have the legal backing of the court. The court will determine disability if two physicians have determined, in writing, that a person is unable to make or communicate responsible decisions, the person is in need of protection, or there are no less restrictive measures to allow for decision making.

If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that an individual is incapable of making or communicating decisions regarding his or her life, the court will appoint a guardian who will have the same rights and duties as a parent does over a minor child. The guardian has a duty to provide care and comfort for the individual, including looking after medical, social, recreational and friendship needs. The guardian of the person may file an annual report describing the disabled person’s circumstances over the past year.

If you are interested in obtaining a guardian of a person, contact an experienced attorney who can help you. An attorney must file a petition with the court and provide evidence from physicians, family or friends that the individual is in need of a guardian. A guardian should be guided by the two standards of decision-making identified in the law. The first, substituted consent, which involves making a decision based on the individual’s wishes, as you know them. It is important for the guardian to use substituted consent.

At times, older persons have discussed their feelings regarding medical treatment with family and friends and the guardian should support that view when making a decision. The second, best interest, is to use the best interest when the guardian is not aware of the individual’s wishes. It’s best to contact an experienced family law lawyer in Maryland at The Burton Firm who can help guide you through the process.

Legal Custody or Physical Custody

Child custody cases involve many different steps and it’s always best to consult with an experienced attorney who can help guide you through it. There are no set rules on who will be getting custody of children but the rule of thumb is whatever is in the best interest of the child.

In Maryland there are two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody.

  • Legal custody is the right to make major life decisions for the child such as medical treatment, religious affiliation and education. Parties can jointly hold legal custody or one party may be granted sole legal custody. If both parents have joint legal custody, they both share that decision and must willingly be communicative and cooperative.
  • Physical custody as well can either be shared and split between the parties or it can be granted to just one parent with visitation rights to the other. Sole custody involves one parent having physical custody and the other non-custodial parent will only be able to see the child if visitation rights are involved. In order for physical custody to be shared, both parties have at least a minimum of 128 overnight visitations and both have to contribute to the expenses of the child in addition to any award of child support.

Each case is different and it’s always best to talk to a Maryland divorce attorney regarding your specific situation. If it is a domestic violence situation and one party is granted very little visitation rights, there are visitation services that can assist you and the child safely.

For example, monitored exchange provides a safe and secure location for dropping off and picking up children before and after visits.

This removes the chance of an angry and violent exchange. Supervised visitation is a higher level of protection service and involves parents having visits at a center under supervision. The custodial parent brings the child to a center where trained staff are present to observe the visit, model positive behavior and ensure the parent’s behavior is appropriate.

If you’re fighting custody issues, call an experienced family law lawyer in Maryland at The Burton Firm.


The Burton Law Firm understands how divorce can affect you and your family’s life indefinitely. Having years of experience handling all types of divorce cases throughout the state of Maryland, you can trust us to handle your case with care. Give us a call at (301) 420-5540 to speak to a family law lawyer in Maryland at The Burton Firm.


Contact our office as soon as possible so our team of family law attorneys can properly evaluate your case and protect your rights.