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
Ph: 301-600-2023

Family Services Programs

Self-Help Law Clinic

The Self-help Law 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. You must sign-in by noon to be served.
For Spanish speaking litigants, the Clinic is open on the third Wednesday of every month from 9-11. 

Family Law for the People: A Free Public Seminar
This three-hour seminar is about common family law issues and court procedures, 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 each month between 5:30 and 8:30pm at the C. Burr Artz Library (110 West Patrick Street). 2017 seminar dates: May 9, June 8* & 13, July 11, August 8, September 12, October 10, November 14, and December 12   Call 301.600.2023 to confirm the date and location.  
*June 8th the Seminar will be presented at 2:30pm before the Pro Bono Day event at Frederick Community College, Building H (From 4 until 8 pm you may discuss your civil legal problems involving Maryland Law, one-on-one with volunteer attorneys.)


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:
                     (Interpreters by request for in-person classes)

Mediation Services

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 2 to 3 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 at 301-663-1139, or select a mediator from the Court Panel.

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.

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.

Initial Conference

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.

Settlement/Status 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 & 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 Mental Health Association operates a Supervised Visitation and Monitored Transfer Center on:
Monday 6-8pm,
Thursday 5-8 p.m., and
Sunday 1-6 p.m.
One-hour supervised visits or monitored transfers may be scheduled after intake interviews are complete. Therapeutic Visits, Family Therapy, or Parent Coaching may also be offered. Fees are on a sliding scale. Call 301-663-0011 or go to the MHA website for additional details.

Domestic Violence Assistance


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 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. Click on professionals for a list of qualified PCs.


Legal Resources

Maryland Courts Self-Help Centers
Free legal help with your civil matter

chat with a lawyer

8:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday - Friday