ProActive Fathers' Rights Custody Attorney and Divorce Lawyer with much Successful experience in
F   A   T   H   E   R   S'         R   I   G   H   T   S
regarding Maryland Divorce, Custody, Visitation, and Child Support
in Maryland Family Law Courts

Maryland Family Law is all we do at the Matney Law Firm
and we have been doing it well for many years!



Laura Matney, Attorney at Law

2275 Research Blvd., Suite 500 Rockville, MD 20850 in Montgomery County Maryland just off Exit 8 of I-270 also convenient to Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Silver Spring, and Frederick, Maryland

Also serving Annapolis, Upper Marlboro, Ellicott City, Columbia, Baltimore, La Plata, Prince Frederick, Hagerstown, and All areas in Maryland

Attorney Matney does NOT charge for Travel-Time to or from any Court in Maryland


Experienced and Successful in representing Men in Child Support and Custody Trials in Maryland Family Law Courts, Attorney Laura Matney has obtained Court Orders for Sole Physical Custody and for Joint Physical Custody with Equal Time Sharing   FOR   FATHERS  many times in many Trials, Emergency Hearings, and Settlements in many Family Law Courts in Maryland.



Attorney Matney also has much successful experience defending men against false domestic violence and abuse claims, and getting undesirable Orders Vacated (i.e., ex parte emergency custody order, default judgment, etc.).


Consultations with Attorney Laura Matney can be by phone or in person, but are by prior appointment only.



Click Here to Schedule an Appointment with Attorney Laura Matney


Maryland Child Support Law Overview


Child Support law varies greatly from state to state.
The information on this web site concerns Maryland Family law only.


The information regarding Maryland Child Support Law on this page is general, could change at any time without Notice, and is not meant to replace legal advice.

Maryland Family Law is drawn from the sources of the Maryland Code, Maryland Court Rules, and Maryland Case Law.     Individual laws regarding Custody, Visitation, Child Support, Alimony, and Divorce cannot be fully comprehended without understanding how they interact with each other and within the elaborate Maryland Family Law Court system, and trying to interpret individual laws without understanding this could decrease the chance of achieving an outcome favorable to you in your case.


Child Support in Maryland is based on a formula, which is based on the factors of how many over-nights the child spends with each parent, the average monthly income of each parent, (or possibly how much either of them could make if either one is "voluntarily under-employing" "or voluntarily impoverishing" himself or herself), daycare expenses, medical expenses, and some other factors.


"Voluntary under-employment" and "attribution of income" are issues that are too complex to go into here.   If you these issues may be involved in your case, you should discuss this with an attorney who has had experience with these issues in Maryland Family Law courts as soon as possible.


In Maryland, "income" for determining child support is any and all income "from any source derived."   --So if you are getting income from a source in addition to your paychecks, the Master/Judge will include that in your "income" to be used for determining child support.


Child support in Maryland is calculated based on these specific things and not based on any of the possible labels involving "Legal custody."


The number of over-nights the child spends with each parent, which is a major factor that determines the amount of child support ordered.


See our page on Maryland Custody for an explanation of Maryland Custody terms such as "Legal" custody and "Physical" custody.


In Maryland, child support generally accrues from the date of filing, so if no child support is ordered before the Trial, the judge can order "back-pay" child support going back to the date of the filing.


Maryland Child Support laws apply to Mothers as well as to Fathers.


Child Support is separate from "Alimony" and/or "Monetary Award," and Maryland courts do not use a standard formula to determine Custody, Alimony, or Monetary Award.


Maryland Family Law decisions regarding Custody and Alimony are different than the issue of child support and are based on standards of and arguments of "equity," and/or "best interest of the child," rather than on specific formulas or rules.   The complex interaction of the separate laws regarding Custody, Child Support, Alimony, and Monetary Award is one of the reasons why experienced Family Law attorneys usually avoid giving quick answers without discussion, analysis, or clarification.   Another reason experienced attorneys usually refrain from giving quick answers is because they know that Maryland Law requires that each Family Law case must be judged independently from all others and each judgment must be based on the unique set of circumstances that are involved in each case.   Accordingly, in order to give you the best advice possible (or even adequate advice) regarding your case, an attorney would need to find out all of the unique facts and circumstances involved.


Maryland judges can deviate from the Maryland Child Support Guidelines if they choose to do so.   Judges have much discretion in Maryland Family Law courts.


The Maryland Family Law Court system is complex and Maryland Family Law requires judges to consider many variables and laws before making a decision in each Family Law case.   Individual laws cannot be fully comprehended without understanding how they interact with each other and within the elaborate Maryland Family Law Court system, and trying to interpret individual laws without understanding this could decrease your chance of achieving an outcome that is favorable to you in your case.   It is therefore in your best interest to have a full consultation with an experienced Family Law attorney regarding your particular case or situation before making any agreements or filing anything with a Family Law Court.


Maryland Child Support Calculator


*Do not forget to fill in childcare costs either party may claim are necessary to work and health insurance costs either party may likely claim -- This will affect the amount of child support ordered.


**Be sure to also use the gross income for each of you -- The amount of your paychecks before any deductions are taken out -- These are the numbers the Courts will use in regard to your income you receive from employment.   If you have any income that does not come from formal employment, but from businesses you may be involved in, interest you may be earning, rent you may be receiving for properties you own or co-own, etc., the Master/Judge will consider that income as well.   If you have your own business, and/or your child attends private school, you should consult a Maryland Family Law Attorney as soon as possible.


***These numbers are for Child support only and do not include other support that may be awarded to married parties, such as alimony, contribution to maintain the marital residence if the other side gets a "use and possession" award, and/or monetary award.


What being "Above the Guidelines" means in Maryland Child Support Law:

In Maryland Child Support Law, if the combined income of the mother and the father together is greater than $15,000 a month, then this is called being "Above The Guidelines."   This means the Judge can be creative in setting the amount of child support.   Some Judges choose to use software that simply continues with the same formula at the higher numbers, but they are not obligated to do that.   --They have the discretion to set the amount a different way, so it is important to understand that the Judge could set it for more or less than the software may indicate if the case is "Above The Guidelines."


Maryland judges can also deviate from the Guidelines even if cases are not "Above The Guidelines" cases if they choose to do so.   Judges have much discretion in Maryland Family Law courts.



Maryland Child Custody Law Overview

Child Custody law and procedure varies greatly from state to state.

This information concerns Maryland custody law only.

The information on this page is General information only about Maryland Child Custody Law and is not meant to replace Legal Advice.

Maryland Custody law does not allow family law judges to presume the Mother should get Custody instead of the Father, and the child support laws apply to Mothers as well as to Fathers.  

Today's Maryland Family Law is very different than many people think.  
Family Law varies from state to state.   Maryland Custody Law does not start out with a legal presumption favoring women or men, or for Joint or sole Custody.

Maryland Family Law is drawn from the sources of the Maryland Code, Maryland Court Rules, and Maryland Case Law.     The Maryland Family Law court system is complex and Maryland Custody Law requires Judges to consider many variables and laws before making a decision in each Family Law case.   Individual laws cannot be fully comprehended without understanding how they interact with each other and within the elaborate Maryland Family Law Court system, and trying to interpret individual laws without understanding how they each interact with each other and within this system could decrease the chance of achieving an outcome favorable to you in your case.

It is in your best interest to consult an Attorney with experience in Maryland Family Law courts before agreeing to anything or signing anything regarding your Maryland Divorce, Custody, or Domestic Violence/Abuse case.


Individual Maryland laws regarding Custody, Visitation, Child Support, Alimony, and Divorce cannot be fully comprehended without understanding how they interact with each other and within the elaborate Maryland Family Law Court system, and trying to interpret individual laws without understanding this could decrease the chance of achieving an outcome favorable to you in your case.



Family Law varies from state to state.   There is NO presumption of JOINT Custody in Maryland.   Some states do have a rebuttable presumption of Joint Custody -- Maryland is NOT one of those states.   Maryland Custody Law also has no presumption favoring mothers or fathers.


Terms used in Maryland Custody Law

There are two kinds of child custody in Maryland:
LEGAL custody and PHYSICAL custody.
Each has different rights associated with it.

LEGAL custody gives a parent the right to make broad, long-term decisions affecting the child.

PHYSICAL custody is what affects where the child lives, day-to-day decision-making, and child support.

Child support in Maryland is calculated by using the average monthly income of each of the parents, the average number of overnights the child spends with each parent, health insurance costs, childcare costs, and a few other factors.

Here are some examples:

Joint PHYSICAL Custody with Equal Access/Equal Authority

-- No Child Support if both parents earn the same amount
and both parents have equal rights as parents in regard to spending time with the child and making decisions about the child

Joint LEGAL Custody
-- Gives both parents authority to make long-term decisions regarding the child

Child Support is not affected by LEGAL Custody
and LEGAL Custody does not affect the visitation schedule with the child

*These are just some of many possible custody arrangements
See the attorney for details and find out the implications involved before agreeing to anything

Access to the child and child support are determined by PHYSICAL Custody

Joint LEGAL custody does not include Joint PHYSICAL custody unless specified

PHYSICAL Custody is sometimes called "Residential Custody," "Primary Care," or sometimes it is not labeled at all and a schedule regarding overnights with the child is simply set (or agreed to) and it is then that schedule (rather than a label or term) that determines child support and the right to make the short-term, day-to-day decisions that go with "physical custody."


Main Factors Maryland courts consider when determining Custody

Although there are several factors the Maryland courts consider when awarding custody in Maryland, there is no specific weight or priority assigned to these factors and there is no specific formula like there is for awarding child support.   The facts and circumstances of each particular case will be determinative.

The relevant case law in Maryland holds that "there is no such thing as a simple custody case," that "custody cases are like fingerprints because no two are exactly the same," and "that there is no litmus test that provides a quick and easy answer to custody matters."

When deciding Custody cases, Maryland Judges consider the main Factors listed below.   These main Factors are listed as a starting point for people wanting to know very basic things about Maryland Custody Law.

Main Factors

Sincerity of each of the parent's request;
Capacity and willingness of the parents to Communicate and to reach shared decisions affecting the child's welfare;
Flexibility of each of the parents;
Prior voluntary abandonment or surrender of custody of the child;
Length of the separation of the parents;
Relationship established between the child and each parent;
Desire of the natural parents and any Agreements between them;
Fitness of the parents;
Character and reputation of the parents;
Potential for maintaining natural family relations;
Extended Family;
Preference of the child, if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form a rational judgment;
Material opportunities affecting the future life of the child;
Age, health, sex, and number of children;
Residences of the parents and the opportunity for visitation;
Willingness of each of the parents to share custody;
Potential disruption of child's social and school life;
Geographic proximity of parental homes;
Demands of parental employment;
Age and number of children;
Financial status of parents;
Impact on State or Federal Assistance;
Benefit to parents


*Maryland Family Court Judges consider many variables when considering each of these main Factors.   Knowing this list of these main Factors does not necessarily include an understanding of the dynamics that often occur in Maryland Family Law courts or of the many other variables Maryland Family Court Judges often consider as Sub-Factors to many of these main Factors.



Changing Existing Custody Orders in Maryland



Attorney Matney has a Master's Degree in Psychology and a Law degree and has much professional experience working with people with mental illness and also many years of successful experience practicing Law.

Attorney Laura Matney has much successful experience representing Fathers in high-conflict complex Custody, Child Support, and Divorce cases involving Borderline Personality Disorder (AKA: Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder and/or Emotional Dysregulation Disorder), Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Anti-Social Personalilty (ASPD, AKA: Sociopathic Personality Disorder), Rapid Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Excessively Controlling Behavior, Emotionally Withholding Behavior, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Substance Use Disorder, Emotional Disturbance, Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, ADD, Dyslexia, Learning Disabilities, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Aggressive Behavior, Parental Alienation, Emotionally Generated False Information, Cognitive Distortions, distortion campaigns, School and Day Care issues, change of residence location, disability, assertions of emotional abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, child neglect, Anger Management issues, issues involving grandparents, defending against peripheral persuasion and surprise attacks, and complex cases having to disprove lies and false legal assertions.

Attorney Matney has much successful experience representing Fathers in complex High-Conflict Custody and Divorce cases and provides experienced representation and advice regarding navigating the Maryland Family Court System and managing high-conflict and aggressive people.

Attorney Matney accepts Divorce, Custody, Visitation, and Child Support cases for ALL Courts in Maryland and she does NOT charge for Travel-Time to or from any Court in Maryland.

Attorney Matney provides compassionate guidance with individual attention and proactive vigorous (but not "aggressive") advocacy.


Attorney Laura Matney also has extensive experience with Custody cases involving Grandparents desiring Custody, does Mediation for Maryland Divorce and Custody cases, and helps Clients with Settlement out of Court.

Consultations with Attorney Laura Matney can be by phone or in person, but are by prior appointment only.





Click Here to Schedule an Appointment with Attorney Laura Matney




Attorney Matney offers full representation in Court, assistance with Settlement, and also offers assistance with drafting Complaints and Motions for those who want to represent themselves ("pro se").



Attorney Matney is a Maryland Divorce Lawyer and MD Custody Attorney accepting cases from ALL counties in the State of Maryland:
Montgomery County, Frederick County, Carroll County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Harford County, Anne Arundel County, Queen Anne's County, Prince George's County, Calvert County, Charles County, St. Mary's County, Worcester County, Wicomico County, Kent County, Talbot County, Dorchester County, Allegany County, Garrett County, and Washington County

She does NOT charge for Travel-Time to or from any Court in Maryland.



A Maryland Court of Appeals published case regarding Constitutional Rights and Maryland Family Law where Attorney Laura Matney obtained an Order for Sole Legal and Sole Physical Custody for the Father wherein the Court refined and clarified part of Maryland Child Custody Law in response to her argument is   McDermott v. Dougherty,   385   Md.   320   (2005).

          *The McDermott case was later upheld and expanded to also cover Maryland Visitation Law on 1/12/07 in the case of Koshko v. Haining.


Laura Matney is a Maryland Divorce Attorney and MD Custody Lawyer serving
Rockville, King Farm, Bethesda, Kensington, Chevy Chase, Potomac, Gaithersburg, Kentlands, Germantown, Frederick, Silver Spring, College Park, Olney, Burtonsville, Ellicott City, Columbia, Clarksville, Baltimore, Mt. Washington, Stevenson, Owings Mills, Towson, Timonium, Bel Air, Laurel, Greenbelt, Beltsville, Bowie, Upper Marlboro, Prince Frederick, Waldorf, La Plata, Leonardtown, Lexington Park, Solomons, Snow Hill, Salisbury, Cambridge, Easton, Chestertown, Hagerstown, Cumberland, Oakland, McHenry, Westminster, Severna Park, Arnold, Centreville, Annapolis, and all areas in Maryland








Consultations with Attorney Laura Matney can be by phone or in person, but are by prior appointment only.

Attorney Matney's office is in Rockville, MD, but she does accept Divorce, Custody, Visitation, and Child Support cases in All courts in Maryland with No charge for Travel-Time to or from any Court in Maryland.


Attorney Laura Matney has obtained Court Orders for Sole Custody and Joint custody with Equal Time Sharing   FOR   FATHERS  many times in many Trials, Emergency Hearings, and Settlements in Family Law Courts around the state of Maryland.



Attorney Laura Matney has also acheived favorable results for Appellate cases and cases involving Immigration, Bankruptcy, and Criminal Defense.

***Past Success is no guarantee of future Success***



Laura Matney
Attorney at Law
Matney Law Firm, LLC
2275 Research Blvd., Suite 500
Rockville, MD 20850


Attorney Matney does not charge for Travel-Time to or from any Court in Maryland



Some Main Points of Maryland Family Law


*The Maryland Family Law referenced on this web site is for general information only, could change without notice at any time, and is not to be used to replace legal advice.  Reading the information on this site and/or sending us an e-mail or fax does not create an Attorney-Client relationship.   Family Law varies greatly from State to State and the information on this web site is in regard to Maryland Family Law only.


Maryland Family Law is drawn from the sources of the Maryland Code, Maryland Court Rules, and Maryland Case Law.   Individual Maryland laws regarding Custody, Visitation, Child Support, Alimony, and Divorce cannot be fully comprehended without understanding how they interact with each other and within the elaborate Maryland Family Law Court system, and trying to interpret individual laws without understanding this could decrease the chance of achieving an outcome favorable to you in your case.


Family Law varies from State to State.   There is NO presumption of JOINT Custody in Maryland.   Some States do have a rebuttable presumption of Joint Custody -- Maryland is NOT one of those States.   While there are specific Main Factors the Maryland Courts must consider when deciding Custody cases, these various factors are not assigned any particular weight or priority, and there are no specific formulas for determining the schedule the child will have with the parents.   The status of Custody and the particular visitation schedule of the child is decided based on what is "in the best interest of the child," which is up for argument based on the individual circumstances involved in each case.


There are no specific formulas in Maryland for determining Alimony or Monetary Award in Maryland Divorce Law.   While there are certain Factors the Courts must consider when deciding Alimony and Monetary Award cases, like the Factors listed for determining Custody, they are not assigned any particular weight or priority.   The matters of Alimony and Monetary Award in Maryland Divorce are determined based on what the Maryland Courts find to be "equitable," considering the circumstances of the parties and the unique factors involved in each case.


Another issue to be considered in Maryland Divorce cases is "use and possession."   In Maryland Limited Divorce or an Absolute Divorce cases, Maryland Courts may award immediate exclusive "use and possession" of the "family home" and "family use personal property," such as automobiles, furniture, family leisure equipment, etc., to either spouse, and this can be ordered to last for up to three years."   See our page on "Use and Possession" for details.


Maryland Family Law Court procedure is continually evolving to manage the increasing volume of Family Law cases.   The procedures involved in the Maryland Family Law Court system are very different from Maryland general Civil Courts, Maryland Criminal Courts, and the Federal Courts.


It is in your best interest to consult an Attorney with much experience in the Maryland Family Law Courts to get specific legal advice regarding your individual case or situation before making any agreements or filing anything regarding a Maryland Divorce, Custody, or Domestic Violence/Abuse case.


The actions you take and/or the Agreements you make, if any, during the initial stages of your Maryland Custody case and in the Maryland Family Court early procedures before Trial, could have a significant impact on your ability to acheive a favorable outcome in your Maryland Family Law case.




Maryland Child Support Law Overview


Maryland Custody Law Overview


Main Factors Maryland Judges use in determining Custody cases


Changing a Current Custody Order in Maryland


Grounds for Divorce in Maryland


Residency Requirement for Divorce in Maryland


Marital Property in Maryland


Use and Possession of Marital Property in Maryland


Alimony in Maryland Divorce Law


Legal Assistance with Abuse Claims in Maryland





Attorney Matney does NOT charge for Travel-Time to or from Court.



Attny. Matney is a very experienced successful Maryland Divorce Attorney and MD Custody Lawyer who accepts Maryland Family Law cases serving

Montgomery County, Frederick County, Washington County, Allegany County, Garrett County, Anne Arundel County, Queen Anne's County, Prince George's County, Calvert County, Charles County, St. Mary's County, Worcester County, Wicomico County, Carroll County, Howard County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Harford County, Cecil County, and All counties in Maryland with No charge for Travel-Time to or from Court.



Rockville,   Bethesda,   Chevy Chase,   Gaithersburg,   Germantown,   Silver Spring,   Burtonsville,   Laurel,   Urbana,   Frederick,   Hagerstown,   Cumberland,   Oakland,   McHenry,   Silver Spring,   College Park,   Olney,   Baltimore,   Mt. Washington,   Owings Mills,   Towson,   Westminster,   Annapolis,   Centreville,   Upper Marlboro,   Prince Frederick,   Waldorf,   La Plata,   Leonardtown,   Lexington Park,   Ocean City,   Salisbury,   Snow Hill,   Columbia,   Clarksville,  Ellicott City  Mt. Airy,   and the greater Montgomery County, Frederick County, Washington County, Allegany County, Garrett County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Prince George's County, Charles County, St. Mary's County, Carroll County, Baltimore County, Harford County, Wicomico County, Worcester County, and All counties in Maryland.






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