Huntingtown, MD asked in Divorce, Family Law, Child Custody and Domestic Violence for Maryland

Q: If granted sole physical and legal custody, what rights do I have? If the order has Contradictions.

I have a PL order that grants me sole legal and residential custody but the custodial time given to my spouse is very liberal. It also contradicts the fact that I am the one with sole legal custody. The order states that our daughter will participate in extracurricular activities and gives him the right to take the kids to tball when it starts and that I may participate in games and practices. It also states that any change to the schedule or activities must be agreed to with him first. There is a history of domestic violence and alcohol abuse. Currently two cases one for a violation of a protection order and a second-degree assault that were on stat have been opened back up against him. Is this reason enough to file a motion to have my PL order changed. Also how do I get to actually see a judge and not a Magistrate. When I got my order the magistrate put it on the record and I didn’t have a lawyer at the time so I hired one But now I’m being told there’s nothing I can do until june

3 Lawyer Answers
Timothy E. Howie
Timothy E. Howie
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Hanover,, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: A pendente lite order is a temporary order that, generally, remains in effect until the actual trial. I suspect that you have an actual trial scheduled for June. If you feel that there is a sufficient reason for the court to reconsider the issue of custody after the pendente lite order but before the actual trial, you can perhaps file a motion asking the court to reconsider the issue of custody before the date of the actual trial.

Elizabeth Pugliese
Elizabeth Pugliese
Answered
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Physical custody is were the child and the day to day things -- like extracurricular activities. Legal custody is the big things like religion, non-emergency medical care and education. If the other parent has liberal access you want an order that states that parent must take the child to activities. Otherwise they say "its MY time, I am not losing any time to the child's t-ball practice." As for changes in the schedule, that is to keep everyone from just doing whatever they want. The CHILD then knows when they will see the other parent instead of it always changing.

You should speak to a lawyer to have custody and how it works in practice explained to you.

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Well, you answered your question in your facts: you didn't have a lawyer at the pendente lite hearing, so you were ineffective at expressing your concerns about your spouse's unfitness to have such liberal unsupervised visitation or the lack of safety protocols for yourself, if that was such a concern. If your trial is in June, as I suspect based on what your lawyer told you, then there is simply no time between now and then to file a motion to modify the temporary pendente lite order and have a hearing scheduled on it, and with the trial date so close, the court is not going to waste the time and resources to have basically two trials on the same issue, when a new pendente lite order will simply be replaced in June with the final order in the case. It's not going to happen. Plus, you now have a lawyer, and rather than ask this question of them, you are posting questions on this public forum, to lawyers who have far less information about you, your ex or the facts of your case. While seeking a second opinion is never discouraged, it seems that you need to talk to your own lawyer to understand the process and how things work. At this point, if something NEW occurs that places either you or the children in jeopardy on account of your ex's actions, which would justify an immediate order for protection from domestic abuse, then that is always an option open to you to seek a new order that curtails the current access and visitation order now in place. Short of that, follow your lawyer's advice.

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