Bowie Family Law Attorney

Baltimore Crimianl Defense Lawyers

Family law matters often affect all parts of someone’s life: divorce is a life-changing event; child custody issues can take away what you love most; and child support or alimony issues can mean the difference between being able to gain financial independence or not.  Dealing with these issues without the help of an experienced family law attorney is often incredibly difficult.

Our lawyers provide legal services in many areas of family law.  Divorce might be one of the most common issues, but child custody and child support are often some of the most divisive issues.  Moreover, we can also help with adoption and other less-common family law issues as well.

For a free review of your potential case with our family law attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras, call (410) 694-7291.

Divorce Law in Bowie, MD

When getting divorced in Maryland, you have a few choices to make about how you will file, plus there are some questions to answer about what your case will look like going forward.  First, Maryland has two types of divorce: limited divorce and absolute divorce.  A limited divorce is essentially legal separation – which means that you will need to determine questions about custody and limited asset division, but the marriage is not terminated.  An absolute divorce is a final termination of divorce, ending the marital relationship entirely.

For an absolute divorce, you have several grounds for divorce you can choose between when filing.  It is best to have our family law attorneys analyze your situation and determine what grounds apply.

Your options under Maryland law include both fault and no-fault grounds.  With fault grounds for divorce – such as adultery, desertion, or cruel treatment – you must prove that your spouse did something wrong that warrants a divorce.  With no-fault grounds – i.e., mutual consent or 12-month separation – you do not have to prove any wrongdoing.  Instead, you only have to meet the requirements of the statute.

With no-fault divorces, parties often agree to terms related to asset division, child custody, and support.  This means that there is little for the judge to do – but quite a bit for the lawyers to do.  Generally, you should not try to draw up a divorce agreement without help from an experienced lawyer, as there are many terms that might be confusing and many ways that your spouse’s attorney could try to take advantage of your legal inexperience.

Other Family Law Issues Our Bowie Family Law Attorneys Help With

Divorce comes with many other legal issues, such as child custody decisions and alimony orders.  However, many of these issues can also arise unrelated to marriage.  Our attorneys provide services related to the family law issues listed below, and more.

Child Custody and Support

When you are getting a divorce with children involved, the court will need to set child custody and support orders or agreements in place to dictate the terms of who gets the children and whether either parent has to pay child support.  However, child custody and support decisions can be made any time the parents live apart – whether they are romantic partners or not.

Issues of custody typically deal with questions of which parents have the right to have the children live with them in their house (physical custody) as well as which parents have the right to make decisions in the child’s lives (legal custody).  In many cases, you can have shared custody, meaning you will split parenting time and costs with the other parent.  Custody is determined by fitness to parent, how your job affects your ability to parent, and other factors.

Whichever parent has a greater split of the physical custody tends to have higher expenses because the child lives with them.  Child support orders are put in place to require the other parent to pay to defray the costs of support.  Generally, support orders are determined by income, split of parenting time, and other financial factors.

There is no presumption that the mother gets custody over the father, and support is often paid by the parent with less parenting time and higher income, regardless of gender.

Alimony and Spousal Support

After divorce, one ex-spouse could be entitled to ongoing support payments for their own care and maintenance, separate from any child support orders.  During the life of the marriage, the spouse that makes less money – or a spouse that focused on being a homemaker or stay-at-home parent – would have become used to a certain standard of living.  Especially during a long marriage, they might have missed out on job opportunities or lost sharpness in marketable skills.  Often, alimony can be paid to continue to support that spouse after divorce.

Spousal support is especially common in long marriages, in cases where the spouse cannot work (potentially because they are a full-time parent to shared children), or when the spouse has expensive health care needs or disabilities.  Alimony can also be granted while the divorce case is pending so both spouses have access to funds to pay for housing and legal fees until the divorce order is finalized.

Asset Division

Along with alimony, asset division is an important economic concern.  The courts will divide shared assets based on particular rules, but there is no set formula or 50/50 presumption.  Instead, each spouse gets what is “equitable” (i.e., fair and just).

Typically, only assets gained during the marriage or intentionally shared or co-mingled will be divided.  Gifts to one spouse or assets from before marriage are often kept by the parties that own those items and assets individually.  Prenuptial agreements can also help dictate what assets will be considered shared “marital property” subject to division and which will be kept separate.


Our family lawyers can also help with adoption cases.  Whether you are seeking an in-state, out-of-state, or overseas adoption, there are many legal issues to consider.  We can also help with adopting a stepchild and all of the legal issues that arise in those cases – especially if there is already another co-parent with custody.

Call Our Bowie, MD Family Lawyers Today

For a free case review with our family law attorneys, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.