Skip to main content
Dawn Elaine Bowie

Dawn Bowie’s Answers

7 total

  • In the state of maryland if a child of 13 years feels like he/she is not being treated properly can he/she petition to change

    My son is 13 on saturday and he presently lives with his mother in hampton VA, he is telling me of unfair and abusive treatment, an example of this was his mother was screaming at him and he was argueing back his mother began throwing things at hi...

    Dawn’s Answer

    Part of your problem is that Maryland courts may not be able to deal with your case. It's impossible to say for sure from your post, but even if Maryland could deal with your son's custody and visitation, Maryland courts have generally held that children can't file as parties in their parents' case.

    See question 
  • If the mother refuses to send a child back from a visit, what legal actions can be taken?

    I have physical custody of my child and I have joint legal custody with the mother. I sent my child to visit the mother for a vacation break in California, per the court order. The mother did not send our child back when she was suppose to and spe...

    Dawn’s Answer

    The first thing to do is to contact law enforcement. You need a lawyer to help you negotiate the maze of getting them to take action, but the Montgomery County Police Department is pretty knowledgeable. There are often jurisdictional issues as well, so you may want to contact law enforcement in the county where your child is being kept. Below is a link to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) site with a series of specific steps you can take:

    Also, check out the free publication from the National Center for families who have experienced family abductions.

    Our firm works with a national forensic expert when we handle abduction cases. This lowers the cost to the client of the necessary legal fees and increases the chance that we can locate the child and return him or her to the parent.

    See question 
  • My son's father has failed to answer the custody papers within the 30 day time frame. This occurred after trying to serve him

    for five months. I now have a Master's hearing. Is that because he has contested? Will he be allowed at the hearing or does the full custody go to solely me. I am in the state of maryland.

    Dawn’s Answer

    It's impossible to say what will happen because it isn't clear what kind of hearing is scheduled. Normally, the first court appearance in a family law case is what is known as a "scheduling conference." Generally speaking (except in Prince George's County) no big decisions are made about the actual claims in the case at a scheduling conference. What does happen is strictly procedural. The court sets certain dates for hearings (such as a "pendente lite" hearing). If you are in Prince George's County, the court automatically sets a hearing the same day as the scheduling conference to decide child support. The only way to avoid this is to ask for a "pendente lite" hearing on child support in front of a judge. This is usually preferable because there is often insufficient evidence on income and expenses this early in a case. The other dates that are set have to do with the process of litigation in the case. Most Maryland courts try to be sure that a family case will be fully resolved within a specified time period. Other things that happen in some counties are that family mediation, the appointment of child's counsel, parenting courses, custody evaluations and other similar family services may be assigned. At the end of it all, most courts issue what is known as a "scheduling order." This order is very important, so be sure you have counsel before you go to a scheduling conference.

    See question 
  • Relative Foster care Placement

    The Juvenile court has decided to place my child with the DSS which will place her in apropriate foster care. The decision came in last week without the DSS proving with any preponderance of proof the allegations. The court order some services to ...

    Dawn’s Answer

    You are correct that Maryland law requires the local agency to first try to find a placement with a relative before placing a child in foster care. However, the local agency in Montgomery County can be unpredictable and often takes actions that are confusing to parents. If you don't have a lawyer, you can contact the Office of the Public Defender in Montgomery County to get help. The lawyer assigned to you can interface with the local agency to give them the information about the relative placement. You can also ask that the decision of the court be reviewed, but you may have a limited time to do that. The Public Defender doesn't have a lot of time to do follow up with the local agency, so you will have to be sure that the social worker assigned to the case is contacted with the information you want him or her to have.

    See question 
  • Does vacation time and holidays supersede the regular visitation schedule or does missed time need to be "made up"?

    I have full physical custody of my son. There is a court order in place that gives his birth father every other weekend of unsupervised visitation from Friday at 4pm till Sunday at 6pm. In my court order for child visitation it states that both pa...

    Dawn’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    It depends. Visitation is governed by the words on the paper. If you have a parenting or separation agreement or a court order that spells out what happens with makeup visitation and what happens when a holiday falls on a regular visitation schedule, that will control. If those two things are not either agreed to or contained in a court order, a contempt finding is unlikely. However, if he's also asked the court to modify visitation, the court might still consider changing the existing order or agreement. If you need more help with custody and visitation, visit our website.

    Dawn Elaine Bowie, Esq.

    See question 
  • Me ex has Legal Custody and I have Sole Physical. Could I lse my son if I move from one county in MD to another?

    My ex now resides in NY. I am in MD and I have sole physical custody and she has legal according to the divorce settlement. If I decide because I am getting remarried to move from Montgomery County to PG county can she stop me from doing so or hav...

    Dawn’s Answer

    First, any parent can always ask for a change in custody if they give the court facts to support a claim that there has been a substantial change in circumstances affecting the well-being of the child. Whether or not they can prove that depends on each case. The most important factor is always the child's best interests, which can include a number of factors. What you and your ex may have agreed to and/or any existing custody orders are very important.

    Every case is different, which is why it is important to seek legal advice in situations such as yours. If you would like our help, we'd be happy to offer our years of experience in custody work in Maryland to you. Go to our website at: www.marylandfamilylawfirm.com and register on our Virtual Law Office using the Contact page. We'll be happy to help you if we can.

    See question 
  • Could my ex prevent me from moving from one county in MD to another county in MD?

    I have physical custody of my son and my ex legal. Do i need to seek permission from the court to move from one county in MD to another? OR can she prevent me from moving within the state of MD?

    Dawn’s Answer

    It depends. That's what the best lawyer will say to you.

    What it depends on can include lots of things, the most important of which is what you and your ex may have agreed to and/or the terms of the most recent custody order you have.

    Maryland Family Law Firm, L.L.C. has years of experience helping clients with problems like yours. Please visit our website at: www.marylandfamilylawfirm.com and register on our Virtual Law Office using the Contact page there.

    See question