Family Services Program

Circuit Court for Frederick County
General Information: 301-600-1976

Family Services Information Contact
The Family Support Services Coordinator   Ph: 301-600-2023 

Self-Help Law Center

The Self-Help Law Center is located on the Lower Level of the courthouse and is available to income eligible litigants on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Intensive Family Law Legal Assistance:
Available from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Please sign in before noon to be served.
A Spanish Interpreter is available on the third Wednesday of every month from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.  Please sign in by 10:00 am to be served

Evening Hours:
Held at Frederick Community College Bldg E, on the third Tuesday of each month from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. No appointment needed.
Find the Self Help Workbook here:
 Maryland Custody and Divorce Notebook 

All general legal assistance:
Available Monday through Friday from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Family Law for the People: A Free Public Seminar

This seminar is about common family law issues and court procedures and is taught by experienced family attorneys, and includes:

  • Child custody and support;
  • Divorce;
  • Starting a case;
  • Trial process and procedures;
  • Finding and working with an attorney; and
  • Alternatives to trial.

The program was developed by the Department of Family Administration of the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Maryland State Bar Association, Family and Juvenile Law Section and the, People’s Law Library of Maryland. The seminar is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. 

Seminars are held on the second Tuesday of each month between 5:30 and 8:30pm usually at the C. Burr Artz Library (110 East Patrick Street).  Contact the Family Support Services Coordinator at 301.600.2023 to confirm the date and location.  

Co-Parenting Seminar

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 seminar is offered on-line or in-person for $75. A reduced fee may be offered through the provider for income eligible parties.
 
Select one of the following providers:

6-hour Online Parenting Program (Also in Spanish)
Enter your information and pay using PayPal or a credit card.
Computer terminals may be available at the courthouse library.  Contact the Family Support Services Coordinator at 301.600.2023 to arrange an appointment.

For military parents (active duty or retired) contact Lisa Long, LCSW-C, Program Manager with the
Ft. Detrick Family Advocacy Program  301.619.7453

Mediation Services

Please see the ADR/Mediation Programs page for more details on Family Mediation Programs available in the Circuit Court for Frederick County and for a roster of court-approved mediators.

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 attorneys 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, the Family Services Funds may be available to assist in payment.  A roster of court-approved attorneys who may represent children is available upon request by contacting the Family Support Services Coordinator at 301.600.2023.

Custody Evaluations

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. 

Scheduling Conferences

A Status / Scheduling Conference is set immediately upon the filing of a family case.  These conferences are generally held approximately forty-five (45) days after the date of filing, hopefully giving sufficient time for the Defendant(s) to be served and possibly answer the complaint.  The purpose of the Scheduling Conference is to define the issues, clarify expectations, set dates, and impose a timeline for concluding the case. The Court may order services to support settlement.

Settlement Conferences

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, Therapeutic Supervised Visitation & Monitored Exchange

Supervised Visitation and Monitored Exchange centers are offered to provide a safe environment for children to have parental contact, therapeutic services and/or to transfer between parents.

The Mental Health Association operates a Supervised Visitation and Monitored Transfer Center:

One-hour supervised visits or monitored transfers may be scheduled after intake interviews are complete. Therapeutic Supervised visits, Family Therapy, or Parent Coaching may also be offered. Fees are on a sliding scale. Call 301-663-0011 or go to MHA Website for additional details, including days and hours of availability.

Parenting Coordination

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 (PC) 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. Contact the Family Support Services Coordinator at 301.600.2023 for a list of qualified Parent Coordinators.

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410-260-1392
8:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday - Friday