Family Services Program
Circuit Court for Frederick County
General Information: 301-600-1976
Family Services Information Contact: B. Lynn Macpherson, LCSW-C
Family Support Services Coordinator
Attorney for Minor Children
Supervised Visitation and Monitored Exchange
Domestic Violence Assistance
The Self-help Clinic is located on the Lower Level of the courthouse and is available to income eligible litigants on a first-come-first-serve basis. It is open from 9-2 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The third Wednesday of every month the Clinic is open from 9-11 for Spanish speaking litigants.
The co-parenting seminar is ordered by the court in all contested custody/access cases. The seminar is six hours in length and covers the impact of conflict on children and strategies for parents to communicate and make decision together on behalf of their children. Emphasis is placed on creating age appropriate parenting plans and preparation for mediation.
The classes are offered by four providers certified to teach this seminar. Fee reduced classes are available to income eligible parties for details call 301-600-2023.
Select one of the following four options:
(Interpreters by request for in-person classes)
Cases with contested custody and access, marital property, alimony or child support are routinely ordered to mediation. Mediation is a cooperative problem-solving process facilitated by a neutral professional. The mediator helps parents develop a parenting plan, make important decisions, and reach agreements that are in the best interest of their children. The mediator also helps participants form an agreement to settle other disputed issues - such as those involving money or property.
Parties are ordered to engage with certified private mediators for two to three mediation sessions. The cost for mediation is $200 per participant per session. Income eligible parties may be ordered to the "in-house" mediator at a reduced fee.
Parties may voluntarily elect to engage with a mediator at any time (before or after filing with the court). To find a mediator, you may contact the Frederick County Bar Association 301-663-1139, Community Mediation (CALM) 301-631-2256, or the court at 301-600-1467.
Attorney for Minor Children
The court may appoint an attorney to represent the minor child or children if the parties are unable to settle on and implement a parenting plan. The attorney’s that represent children have completed special training focused on supporting the best interests of the children. Parents are responsible for payment of the fees for the children’s attorney, however if the parents income is sufficiently low Family Services Funds may be available to assist in payment.
Complex custody disputes may be referred for evaluation by a mental health professional to provide evidence to the court and to offer parenting plan recommendations to the parents and the judge. The custody evaluation process assesses parental strengths and challenges and identifies children’s individual developmental needs. Parents are responsible for payment of all costs associated with the evaluation, however if the parents income is sufficiently low Family Services Funds may be available to assist in payment.
This initial conference is set and held after the initial complaint is answered. The purpose is to define the issues, clarify expectations, and impose a timeline for concluding the case. The Court may order services to support settlement.
This is an opportunity for the parties to inform the Court of the issues that have been settled and if there are any issues still outstanding. Additional services may be ordered at this time.
Supervised Visitation and Monitored Transfer
Supervised Visitation and Monitored Exchange centers are offered to provide a safe environment for children to have parental contact or to transfer between parents.
Central Maryland Safe Haven Child Access Transfer Center provides a safe and comfortable location for parents to exchange children for weekend visitations. The Center is located at St. James Episcopal Church 1307 N. Main Street Mount Airy, MD phone: 301-829-0325 Mon-Wed and Fri 9-4. Center operates: Fri 7-8 p.m. and Sun 5-7 p.m. on alternate weekends. No fees
Domestic Violence Assistance 301-662-8800
Parenting coordination is a service where parents work with a parenting coordinator to reduce the effects or potential effects of conflict on their children. The parenting coordinator helps the parents understand each other better and interact without creating additional conflict. Parenting coordination is typically referred by court order and only to professionals (see below) that have met the education, training and experience required by Maryland Rule 9-205.2.
Frederick County Circuit Court List of Paneled Parenting Coordinators; Updated September 2014
Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Service (MVLS) 800-510-0050
Legal Aid 301-694-7414 or 800-999-8904
Lawyer Referral 800-649-1090
Frederick County Bar Association 301-663-1139
Family Law Hotline 800-845-8550 Legal Forms Line 800-818-9888
Family Law Section Help with Maryland Custody Forms
Family Law Forms and Instructions
Maryland Courts forms finder
Maryland Case Search Track your case
Motion for Waiver of Family Services Fees
Proof of income must be attached to the Motion of Fee Waiver: