Matrimonial and Family Law Disputes
We represent clients in the following areas of family and divorce law:
Before the court can enter a Judgment of Absolute Divorce, which terminates the marital relationship, one of the parties has to have a viable ground for absolute divorce and all issues arising out of the parties’ marriage have to be resolved, either by agreement of the parties or by court order.
In the State of Maryland, the no-fault ground for divorce is:
The fault grounds for divorce are:
Desertion, if desertion has continued for 12 continuous months
Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor where the party has been sentenced to serve at least 3 years and has served 12 months of the sentence
Insanity if the spouse has been institutionalized for at least 3 years and the insanity is incurable
Cruelty of treatment
Excessively vicious conduct
Maryland law also recognizes a “limited divorce” when the parties do not have grounds for an absolute divorce. A limited divorce allows the court to address emergency issues such as child support and spousal support when the parties may not have grounds for absolute divorce or may not wish to terminate their marriage. In a limited divorce, the parties remain married and the court cannot determine a division of the marital property.
Custody and Visitation
Custody determinations made by the court are based on what the court determines is in the best interest of the minor children after taking into consideration a number of factors including, without limitation, age and number of children, the willingness of the parents to share custody, the relationship established between the child and each parent, the geographic proximity of the parental homes, the demands of parental employment, the ability of the parents to communicate and reach shared decisions, and other factors.
Custody of minor children involves both physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody means where the minor children reside and when they spend time with each parent. This can include primary custody to one parent with an access schedule by the other parent, or joint physical custody. This involves a range of schedules, from 5 out of 14 overnights (or 128 overnights per year) to 50/50 (or 128.5 overnights per year) to 9 out of 14 overnights (or 237 overnights per year).
Legal custody involves parents making major decisions regarding the children’s education, religion, medical treatment, and general health and welfare. Joint legal custody means that both parents have equal say in major decision making. One parent may be awarded sole legal custody which allows that parent to make major decisions without the agreement of the other parent.
In Maryland, child support is, in most cases, calculated based guidelines that will determine the amount of child support to be paid. The guidelines considers the parents’ income, their childcare expenses, cost of health insurance, the visitation/time sharing schedule and in some instances, medical expenses.
In a contested case, the court must decide whether to award alimony and the amount and duration of an alimony award, after considering a number of factors, including:
age and health of the parties
marital standard of living
each spouse’s earning capacity
financial circumstances and resources of the parties
length of the marriage
circumstances leading to the parties’ estrangement
contributions, both monetary and non-monetary each spouse made to the well-being of the family
time necessary for the recipient to gain sufficient education or training to enable that spouse to find suitable employment
ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet his or her own financial needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony.
Alimony awarded by a court is modifiable, which means it can be changed in certain circumstances such as a material financial change, both in amount and duration.
PRENUPTIAL & POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENTS
When you have children together or from a prior relationship, or have assets or financial obligations that you acquired prior to the marriage, a prenuptial agreement can be a simple way to define each person's rights and obligations to the other, prior to your marriage.
Similar to a prenuptial agreement, spouses are also free to enter into postnuptial and reconciliation agreements. A postnuptial agreement is nothing more than a prenuptial agreement that is executed after the marriage. A reconciliation agreement is an agreement that provides an amicable plan for separation and/or divorce if attempts to repair a marriage are unsuccessful. Both postnuptial and reconciliation agreements address the same types of issues as prenuptial agreements, as discussed above.
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To protect your assets and loved ones, it is never too early to begin considering estate planning. A person need to take tax, probate, property law implications into considerations for estate planning. The rules surrounding estate planning are complex and constantly changing.
We combine professional legal knowledge, tax expertise, business experience, and common sense to help protect and preserve our client's assets and wealth for future generations.
We will assist you in the below areas of estate planning:
Map out your assets
Develop a plan for distributing your assets
Prepare Powers of Attorney
Prepare Advance Medical Directives
Draft and update your will
Resolve asset disputes
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