Father’s Rights: Dispelling the Myths.

Father’s rights is an issue that comes across my door often. Many times it is father’s who are being denied access to their children by the children’s mother who is angry with the father, and takes it out on the child. This is not okay.

In the State of Maryland, both parents have equal rights to their children. The courts do not “favor” the woman, despite what many may think. While this may have been true many years ago, this is no longer the case–yet this myth continues to float out in the ethos. What usually ends up happening, is what is referred to as “de facto” custody. De facto custody is what happens by effect of the parties’ behavior. For example, when the child lives with the mother, and the father gets visitation with the child, not because a court has ordered this, but simply because this is the way things happened when the parties separated, you end up with “de facto” custody. This is not “actual” custody!

In order to have an “actual,” legal custody order, the court has to issue an order designating who will have physical custody and legal custody of the child(ren).

If you are tired of being denied access to your child because the mother would rather air out your grievances on social media than have a conversation with you, call my office and schedule a consultation.

We will discuss your legal rights and obligations, and guide you in the right direction. Your children are not pawns on a chessboard, and they are not objects to be manipulated to get the upper hand.

Know your rights!

Attorney Hillman is spreading her wings!

Beginning Wednesday, October 19th, and continuing each Wednesday thereafter, Attorney Hillman will be hosting a weekly blog radio show. On the show, she will be providing information on various legal and social topics.

We want you to be a part of the show. You can call in and listen to the show by dialing (215) 383-3872. To ask questions, dial option 1 when you call in.

Not available at 10:00 a.m.? No problem. You can come back and listen at your leisure, when you are ready for information and entertainment!

Links to each show will be posted within 48 hours of the show.


Read this before you consent to the entry of a protective order!

It is not uncommon for people in domestic relationships to have at least one occasion of some sort of alleged abuse. This abuse can be physical, mental, financial, or other. If you believe you are the victim of domestic violence, it is important that you seek help from a professional who is familiar with the cycle of violence, and that you work with that person develop a safety plan in case you need to escape immediately.

When people are involved in relationships where there is partner to partner violence, the usual recourse is to seek a protective order from the court in the county in which the abuse occurred. The State of Maryland recently changed the law regarding protective orders to make it easier for victims of abuse to get a protective order.

The first thing that will happen is the alleged victim will go to either the Commissioner, or a Judge to seek a Temporary Order of Protection. If it is believed that the person is in fact a victim of domestic violence, the temporary order will be issued. A temporary order will only be in effect for a very short time, usually seven (7) days. After that, a court date will be issued, the alleged perpetrator will be served with the temporary order, and you will need to appear at the next court date.

People make the mistake of not appearing at the next court date, or appearing without an attorney. This can have drastic results, including the possible entry of an Interim or even a Final Protective Order against you, if you are the alleged perpetrator. If you are the alleged victim and you fail to appear for the court date, chances are, your case will be dismissed.

How does all of this tie in to the consent of an entry of an order? Well, when the parties to a protective order have children in common, and subsequently are trying to obtain custody or a modification of a previous custody award, the court is asked to consider the best interest of the children.

The court uses a list of factors when determining the child’s best interest–one of which is the “character and reputation of the parties.” If an alleged victim is seeking custody and claiming that the other party is abusive, it can reflect negatively on the alleged victim if they previously accused the other parent of domestic violence and then chose not to pursue it. It can also reflect negatively on the alleged perpetrator if they consented to the entry of a protective order or were found by the court to have committed domestic violence.

People consent to the entry of protective orders for various reasons. Some because they do not want the cost, burden, and hassle of a trial. Others, because they believe it is likely that they will be found to have committed the abuse.

Whatever the reason, there can be long term effects of that decision. If your job requires you to carry a weapon and you consent to the entry of a protective order, it may cost you your job. Therefore, before you make such a decision, be sure to seek the advice of a knowledgeable family law attorney who can explain to you your rights.

If you believe you are the victim of domestic violence, there is help available to you. The Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence and the House of Ruth are two of the organizations that can assist you. The links to their respective websites can be found below.

Always be safe!


Child support vs. Visitation: The Great Struggle.

Many clients will call my office needing advice because they are paying child support, yet being denied or limited in their visitation with the child(ren) in some way.  Logically, if you are paying for something, you should receive something in return, right? Well, not necessarily.  You see, child support is an obligation that each parent owes to their child.  Access to the child is a right that each parent has, just as a parent.  The two things are mutually exclusive.

Married with no kids in common and seeking a divorce?

On October 1, 2015, new divorce laws went into effect in Maryland.  You and your spouse may be able to get a divorce based on mutual consent, and may not be required to be separated for one year prior to filing for divorce.

To find out if you can proceed under Maryland’s new mutual consent grounds, contact our office for a consultation by calling (301) 744-7996 or (301) 851-1020.

Do you have a family law matter but not thousands of dollars for a retainer? Consider “unbundled” legal services with our office.

The Law Office now does “unbundled” or limited scope family law matters.  For example, if you only need legal documents to be reviewed, we can do that for you without having you pay an extraordinary retainer fee that is normally associated with family law matters.  Limited scope representation allows you to address your concerns and save money at the same time.

If this sounds like something that works in your situation, please contact my office to schedule a consultation.