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 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please sign-in by noon. 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 6 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 fee may be reduced for income eligible parties. Check with your provider to see if you qualify.
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, negotiate 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 a trained mediator for 2 to 3 mediation sessions. The cost for court ordered mediation is $200 per participant, per session. Income eligible parties may be ordered to an "in-house" mediator at a reduced fee.
Parties may voluntarily elect to engage with a mediator at any time (before, during, or after involvement with the court). To find a mediator, you may contact the Frederick County Bar Association at 301-663-1139, Community Mediation (CALM) at 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 (or scheduling conference) is set and held after the initial complaint is answered. The purpose is to define the issues, clarify expectations, and impose a timeline by setting court dates 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 & Monitored Exchange
Supervised Visitation and Monitored Exchange centers are offered to provide a safe environment for children to have parental contact or to transfer between parents.
The Visitation Center
The Mental Health Association operates The Visitation Center where children are provided a safe and positive environment to visit with their parent/guardian or to transfer between parents. One-hour supervised visits or monitored transfers may be scheduled after the intake interviews are complete. Visits are held on Monday 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.,Thursday 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monitored transfers are by appointment only. Family Therapy (therapeutic visits), Parent Coaching, and Monitored Visits are also available. Fees are on sliding scale. Call 301-663-0011 x138 for additional details.
Safe Haven Child Access Transfer Center
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 North Main Street Mount Airy, Maryland, the center's phone number is 301-829-0325 and you can speak to someone Monday through Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center operates Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on alternate weekends. No fees
Domestic Violence Assistance
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 that have met the education, training, and experience required by Maryland Rule 9-205.2.