Archive | June, 2013

Interstate Jurisdiction of Child Custody

In any dispute or case regarding child custody and/or access, the first thing which must be determined is jurisdiction.  The question of what state and county family law court has the appropriate jurisdiction over the parents and the child(ren) is resolved by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).

If the children and parents reside in Washington County, be it Hagerstown or elsewhere, the Washington County Circuit Court is the appropriate Maryland Court.  This becomes less clear where one parent lives in Boonsboro but the other parent has moved to West Virginia.  What if one parent lives in Williamsport, Maryland with one child and the other parent has moved to Williamsport, Pennsylvania with another child?

Child custody is almost always a state court decision. In 99.999 percent of all child custody and visitation cases the Federal Courts and Federal Statutes have little or no impact.  State laws regarding custody vary a great deal. There are purportedly states where a child decides which parent he/she will live with after age 12 and a state which bars an award of custody to a parent who has committed adultery.

Maryland is not among the foregoing states, nor is Hagerstown and the Washington County Court system.  Furthermore, at the time of this publication verification of these other states is not possible, however, the very rumor of such laws is an incentive for some parents to flee Washington County Maryland and seek out these unusual jurisdictions.

 

In the 1970s divorce became a growing component of our culture and with it came a growing problem of parental kidnapping.  Parents faced with a divorce would remove their child(ren) from Washington County, Maryland where the family had traditionally resided in search of a jurisdiction which might be more favorable to that parent’s cause.

The nationwide response was the establishment and adoption of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act  (UCCJA) and subsequently the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).

In Washington County, Maryland these statutes are codified in Maryland Law under the Maryland Annotated Code, Family Law Article Section 9.5 et seq.

Timothy Conlon, Esquire for The Custody Place

Child Custody Lawyers in Hagerstown MD

301 865-1101 Call 24/7

Consultations always Free

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Child Support in Washington County Maryland

In Hagerstown Maryland and other communities in Washington County, the enforcing and collection agency for child support is the Washington County Department of Social Services (hereinafter DSS) located at 100 South Potomac in Hagerstown.

Md. FAMILY LAW Code Ann. § 5-1001  (2013)

§ 5-1001. Definitions

  (a) In general. — In this subtitle the following words have the meanings indicated.

(b) Administration. — “Administration” means the Child Support Enforcement Administration of the Department.

Parents living anywhere in Washington County, from Williamsport to Sandy Hook, who wish to open a child support case are charged 25.00 and are required to complete an application.

For example, a mother in Funkstown might apply for support including an Affidavit of Paternity.  At this point the case is assigned a CSES number which is a child support “account.”  If the “putative” father in Boonsboro contests paternity, he is required to do so in writing.

If a parent is the recipient of any “services” including Maryland State Health Insurance, Day Care Vouchers, WIC or TCA they are required to participate in the establishment and collection of child support .  Then the Maryland Child Support  Administration may prosecute the matter as provided in Maryland Annotated Code, Family Law Volume Section 5-1011:

§ 5-1011. Administration as complainant

  (a) Representation. –

  (1) The Administration may be the complainant in any proceeding under this subtitle in which the Administration is providing child support services under federal law.

After a Complaint for Establishment is filed by DSS, and paternity is established, the parents will be required to go to the Hagerstown office and participate in a “Support Conference” as described in Maryland Annotated Code.

The parents will be required to bring documentation necessary for calculation of the appropriate Maryland Child Support Guidelines.  These documents include, but are not limited to income, work related child care expenses, health insurance expenses for the child and other expenses as may be appropriate.

Following the Support Conference, an agreement is usually reached and the child support amount is established along with any arrearages which might be appropriate.  Once the child support is established the payor parent’s wages will be attached.

The wage garnishment would be effective on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis depending upon when and how the payor parent is paid.  A salesman for a business in Keedysville might be paid monthly, while a seasonal employee in Smithsburg might be paid weekly.

The funds are credited to the respective parents’ CSES account number and can be confirmed by phone or on the internet.

Timothy Conlon, Esquire for The Custody Place

Custody Lawyers in Hagerstown MD

301 865-1101 Call 24/7

Consultations always Free

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