Failure to Appear (for Court): Custody Edition

Thank you for joining me. My name is LaSheena Williams, and I am a Maryland family law attorney. My firm helps our clients take control of out-of-control domestic situations. Today we will be discussing what your options are when your co-parent fails to appear or even participate during a custody matter.

What is failure to appear or participate in a custody case?

A failure to appear is when your co-parent just does not show up for court or alternatively, they may fail to participate which is when they fail to file the appropriate pleadings or responses during litigation when they know that the litigation is currently ongoing.

Will the court issue a custody order if they don’t come to court?

The court will issue a custody order when your co-parent fails to come to court because if you show that your co-parent was notified that they even had notice of the hearing date, and they’ve failed to respond to any filings, or they fail to show up to multiple hearings, the court will still issue an order regarding custody even if they never appear.

Will the court let them testify or present evidence if they don’t file anything at all?

Yes, they can still testify or present evidence because the court is reticent to order custody in a situation where they don’t necessarily have the full story. If they didn’t show up they’ll issue the order because obviously they knew about it, they were served appropriately, but if they do show up they can testify and they can present limited evidence so that they can make sure, so that the court can make sure that they understand the full story when making a determination that will impact your child’s life.

If you have any questions regarding child custody establishment or modifications in situations where your co-parent is failing to appear or failing to participate during your ongoing custody matter, contact the Law Office of LaSheena M. Williams at (301) 778 – 9950 or leave an online request for a consultation.