The Buckner Law Firm

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Family Law

1113 Odenton Road

Odenton, MD 21113

(443) 351-2011

Absolute Divorce
When the Court orders an Absolute Divorce, the divorce is permanent and final. This will restore

the parties to single status and the court will issue orders for matters related to custody, visitation

of minor children of the marriage, child support, spousal support, alimony, and confirm or divide

community and separate property assets and debts.

Limited Divorce
A Limited Divorce is judicial recognition that the parties are separated, although still married.  The

court can issue orders regarding child custody, visitation, and spousal and child support, but it

cannot determine or divide marital property.  A Limited Divorce may be terminated by the parties,

who are then free to resume their marital relationship, or can be converted to an Absolute Divorce,

thereby ending the marital relationship once and for all. 

Child Support

Every child has a right to receive support from both parents, even if the parents are separated,

divorced, or never married. When you open a child support case in Maryland, in most instances 

the court will order both parents to provide the financial, medical and emotional support their

children need to grow and thrive. We can help you work to make this process as straightforward

as possible. If you already have a child support order but need to reduce or increase the amount

you were ordered to pay or receive you can go to court to have the order modified. Call our office

today for a consultation and we can walk you through the process.

Child Custody

When determining the home in which to place the child, the court strives to reach a decision in "the

best interests of the child." A decision in "the best interests of the child" requires considering the

wishes of the child's parents, the wishes of the child, and the child's relationship with each of the

parents, siblings, other persons who may substantially impact the child's best interests, the child's

comfort in his home, school, and community, and the mental and physical health of the involved


The parent with custody controls decisions pertaining to the child's education, religious upbringing,

and health care. Courts have the option of choosing one of several types of custody. Temporary

custody grants custody of the child to an individual during the divorce or separation proceeding.

Exclusive custody endows one parent with all custody rights to the exclusion of the other parent.

The non-custodial parent may receive supervision rights or in certain cases, supervised visitation

rights. Joint custody grants the parents equal rights in making decisions regarding the child's

upbringing. Courts award joint custody for cases in which both parents can properly perform their

duties as parents. If one parent sues for exclusive custody, the suing parent must rebut a

presumption that joint custody is in the child's best interests. A court can award the custody of a

child to a third party if the third party has sought custody. The third party is often a grandparent or

other close relative. If a marriage results in multiple children, a court has the authority to separate

the children and split the custody between parents in accord with the best interest of each

particular child. Ordinarily, however, the best interests of a child will be to live with that child's

siblings, in part for reasons of emotional support.

Establishing Paternity

Your child deserves all of the advantages in life that two parents can give. There are some special

reasons to establish paternity.

Benefits For Your Child: Your child may be eligible for some benefits because you have established

paternity. These benefits may include Social Security, veteran’s benefits, health insurance, life

insurance and inheritance. Establishing paternity ensures you can provide for your child even

when the unexpected occurs.

Family Medical History: Knowing the family’s full history of diseases, illnesses and birth defects will

help your doctor if your child becomes sick. It’s important to know the father’s medical history for

this reason.

Child Support: Your child needs and deserves both emotional and financial support from both

parents. You may think that you can get by on your own and live without any help from your child’s

father. But you may change your mind some day. A court can’t order child support without legal

proof of paternity. It’s easier to get that proof today than to wait.

Maryland law allows you to establish paternity through a court order or through an Affidavit of

Parentage form.  If the issue of paternity is contested and cannot be resolved through genetic

testing alone, a judicial proceeding may be scheduled to decide the issue of paternity.  If you are

currently receiving Temporary Cash Assistance payments, your case will automatically be referred

to your local office of child support enforcement by the Department of Social Services and you will

need to apply for services.

Independent Adoption

This type of adoption case is usually filed by a private party.  This type of adoption is often filed by

a stepparent or co-parent who would like to adopt his or her partner’s child.

In all types of adoption cases, if the natural parents can be found, they will be asked if they

consent to the adoption.  If they do not consent, they can file an objection to the adoption. 

Thorough investigations may be conducted and many documents must be filed with the court. This

allows the court to determine what is best for the child.  The court will hold a hearing and will

determine whether to grant the adoption.