Family Law

Family law encompasses some of the most intimate aspects of your life.

Marital disputes and the process of ending a marriage are intensely stressful. Emotions run high. You are called on to make life-changing decisions that affect your closest relationships and your financial circumstances for years to come. We are here to help you resolve these issues with compassion, thorough advocacy, and strategies to help you in a timely and effective manner.

Are my spouse and I "separated" if we live in separate bedrooms? How long do we have to be separated?
In Maryland, sleeping in separate bedrooms within the same household constitutes separation. However, effective October 1, 2015, a married couple in Maryland who does not have minor children together does not need to be separated in order to file for an uncontested divorce so long as they have a written agreement. Married couples in Maryland who have minor children together and/or do not have a written settlement agreement must reside in separate residences and not have sexual relations for one year to file for an uncontested divorce. In the District of Columbia a married couple may be considered to be living separately and apart if they sleep in separate bedrooms without sexual relations. There are no fault grounds for divorce in the District of Columbia.
Is it true that if I move out of the marital house I've abandoned my wife?
In Maryland, desertion (abandonment) is a fault ground for divorce. However, to get a divorce based on desertion, your wife would have to prove that you deserted her without justification - not merely moved out of the house. Furthermore, while your wife might be able to allege desertion, you may be able to allege constructive desertion, which basically means that you moved out because it had become unbearable for you to stay in the marriage. The District of Columbia does not have any fault grounds for divorce.
I told my husband that I want a divorce and he quit his job, saying that he will never pay me any support. Can he get away with this?
In Maryland, a court may find a person to be "voluntarily impoverished" if the individual deliberately refuses to work or lowers his/her income. If the court finds that your husband is voluntarily impoverished, it can impute income to him based on his earning capacity. In that case, the court would consider your husband's imputed income when determining child support and alimony.
My husband earns twice what I do, but he says the court won't give me alimony if I leave because I am able to support myself. Is this true?
That depends. In Maryland, there are 12 different factors the court must consider when determining the amount and duration of alimony. Generally, if alimony is awarded, the court prefers rehabilitative alimony instead of indefinite alimony. You should consult an attorney to discuss the implications of your relative incomes and other factors regarding an alimony award in your case.
We have two children under 10 years old. Is it okay for me to move out of the family home before we have a custody agreement?
Generally, it is advisable to have a written agreement regarding child access before moving out. People going through separation and divorce cope with profound feelings of anger and hurt, and these feelings can often make it very difficult for parents to work out a custody agreement. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a lawyer to help you navigate these important agreements.
  • Alimony and Spousal Support
  • Arbitration
  • Child Custody
  • Child Custody Modification and Relocation
  • Child Support
  • Collaborative Law
  • Divorce and Separation
  • Enforcement of Support Orders and Contempt
  • Domestic Violence and Peace Orders
  • Guardianships
  • High-asset Divorces
  • Mediation
  • Post-Divorce Issues
  • Premarital/prenuptial and Postmarital Agreements
  • Property Division
  • Same-Sex Marriage and Family Issues