Rockville, MD Family Law Attorney

Baltimore Crimianl Defense Lawyers

Many people would rather not need to deal with the courts in a family matter. However, sometimes this is the best way to resolve familial conflicts peacefully.

Fortunately, our family law attorneys can represent your interests in a wide range of legal issues involving family relations. Whether it is filing for divorce, fighting for custody of your child, determining child support, or reviewing your property, our firm can help ensure that your rights are protected.

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

Filing for Divorce in Rockville, MD

Filing for divorce is one of the most difficult choices a couple might have to make. Of course, there could be very good reasons for filing for divorce, but spouses in Rockville can also get divorced if they have grown apart. Certain requirements must be met before filing, and assets should be accounted for, as some might be redistributed during the divorce. Our family law attorneys can help guide you through each step of the divorce process so that your rights are protected.

Grounds for Divorce

If a spouse is filing for a fault-based divorce, they will need to provide evidence showing that their spouse has done something that has made the divorce necessary. Maryland recognizes several grounds for divorce, including adultery, cruelty, vicious acts, insanity, or being committed to a mental institution. Fault-based divorces can be lengthy as a great deal of documentation must usually be submitted to prove the grounds alleged.

If you intend to proceed with a no-fault divorce, you will not need to prove a reason for the divorce. The typical reason is irreconcilable differences between the spouses and tends to resolve faster than at-fault divorces.

Types of Divorce

A “limited divorce” is a type of legal separation in Maryland that allows the spouses the address important issues affecting their marriage without terminating the marriage immediately. Limited divorces are usually granted in cases where the spouses have children, and matters dealing with support and custody need to be addressed before the spouses can file for what is known as an “absolute divorce.” If the spouses claim separation or mutual consent as grounds for the divorce, it is considered a “no-fault” divorce. If there is fault in the divorce, the violated spouse will need to show at least one of the specific grounds listed above for the divorce filing.

An absolute divorce is a complete dissolution of marriage that terminates all rights and obligations of the spouses, including joint ownership of property and debts. Essentially, the court will need to make a finding that grounds for divorce have been met, whether uncontested or fault-based. However, Maryland also has other requirements that must be met before spouses can be granted a divorce.

Residency Requirements for Divorce

Maryland has a couple of residency requirements that divorcing spouses must meet before their divorce filing is granted. Before filing for divorce in Rockville, you must show that you  you live in Maryland. If the grounds for divorce occurred outside of Maryland, though, then you will need to meet a six-month residency requirement before filing.

Dividing Marital Assets

One of the most challenging issues in a Rockville divorce is how the assets will be distributed. For divorce purposes, assets are classified as marital and non-marital property. Marital property is the assets you and your spouse acquire during the marriage, including houses, cars, debts, and other property. Non-marital property is property that you owned before the marriage. Non-marital property can also include property that was gifted directly to you during the marriage or property that can be traced to a non-marital source.

In Maryland, there is no formula for determining how to split property among spouses. Instead, the court looks at all of the circumstances surrounding your case to decide what is fair for both parties. This is what is known as equitable distribution of the assets. To be clear, this should not be taken to mean a 50/50 split. Instead, each party will get what the court considers fair in the situation. For instance, one party might be granted more money or property than another because they worked longer or harder than the other party.

Child Custody and Visitation Cases in Rockville, MD

Child custody and visitation issues are often some of the most important family law issues. Child custody refers to which parent(s) will be responsible for caring for the child and making decisions about their upbringing. This includes physical custody – which parent the child lives with – and legal custody – the right to make important decisions affecting the child’s life.

In Maryland, there is typically no presumption in favor of either parent. Instead, the court will grant “primary custody” to the parent that it is in the best interests of the child to be with. The court will also make a determination as to how much “visitation” the other parent should be allowed. Visitation refers to the terms of when, where, and how the non-custodial parent can visit the child and is set by the custodial parent. The court might also award “joint legal” and “shared physical custody” if it believes this would be best for the child. Joint legal custody gives both parents equal rights to make decisions important to the upbringing of their child. Shared physical custody means the child resides with one parent at least 35% of the time when not with the other parent.

Child Support Cases in Rockville, MD

Child support cases in Rockville can be complicated with many confusing rules. Child support is money that one parent pays to another parent to help with the expenses of raising a child. The court may deny a child support request, leaving one parent to pay all of the child’s expenses or, more commonly, it will split support between both parents based on each parent’s ability to pay. The court will usually consider relevant information, including the amount of time each parent has with the child, your income level, work history, expenses, and many other factors.

If you are not receiving enough money to support your children or you are being asked to pay so much that you cannot afford your own expenses, you could be entitled to child support modification. If you undergo any big changes in income, rent, or healthcare costs, you could also be entitled to modification. You can also ask the court or the court can decide on its own discretion to include medical insurance costs in your child support order if they are not covered under your health insurance plan or if they are not included in your current child support order from the court.

Our Rockville, MD Family Law Attorneys Can Help

Contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 694-7291 to speak with our family law attorneys and receive your free case assessment.