A divorce and its aftermath are intensely emotional periods of time for families. Trying to figure out a suitable arrangement for matters such as property division, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance can be extremely stressful. It is not advisable to go it alone without a divorce lawyer, since the decisions made during this process may have an impact on everyone in your family for many years to come. With an experienced family law attorney at Felsen & Sargent on your side, you can pursue a resolution to family conflicts that take into consideration both your best interests and the wellbeing of your loved ones.
For your personalized consultation, call our firm at (301) 970-3811 today.
Resolving Family Law Matters in Frederick County, Prince George’s County, Carroll County, anne arundel county, Howard County, & the District of Columbia
The most common form of divorce is an absolute divorce, for which you need legal grounds in Maryland. You can get an absolute divorce based on adultery, a 12-month separation, cruelty, excessively vicious conduct, insanity, and some types of criminal convictions. In most cases, couples proceed with a divorce based on a 12-month separation. Divorce often gives rise to conflicts over property division, child custody, child support, and alimony.
Maryland follows the rule of equitable property division. Each spouse can keep his or her own separate property. However, marital property will be divided according to what the court feels is fair, and the division may not be equal. In some cases, couples can agree on how to divide their property with the help of an attorney, and a written agreement is simply submitted to the court for approval. In other cases, spouses have already entered into a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married and specified which of their property will be marital property and which will be separate. However, in some cases, couples have no prenuptial agreement and cannot decide between themselves, and it is necessary to have the court decide how to divide the property. Having the court decide can be expensive when marital and separate property have been mixed or "commingled," and it may become necessary to retain experts to trace the source of the funds used to purchase assets, such as a home or a business.
In cases in which parents' income is $180,000 a year or less, child support is usually determined according to the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. Judges have more discretion to vary from the guidelines when the combined parental incomes are greater than $180,000.
Child custody and visitation require more sensitivity to individual circumstances. The court will consider the totality of the circumstances related to the care of the children and evaluate their best interests in coming up with an arrangement for custody and visitation. After custody has been established by the court, a parent with custody is presumed to be acting in a child's best interests. It would take a finding of extraordinary circumstances or a showing of unfitness for the court to change an existing custody or visitation arrangement. For example, a maternal grandparent hoping to get visitation with a grandchild who is in the custody of a father would have to show extraordinary circumstances or unfitness to get visits over the father's objection.
Felsen & Sargent provides knowledgeable legal representation for people who need a child custody attorney or guidance with another family law matter.
Call (301) 970-3811 or complete our online form to set up a consultation with a family law lawyer.
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