Family Law

It can be hard to see the path forward when faced with separation and divorce. We help you navigate through the divorce process and find your way through the emotional and financial implications that can come along with it.

Marital disputes and the process of ending a marriage can be intensely stressful. You are called upon to make life-changing decisions that affect your closest relationships and your financial position for years to come. Our lawyers will not only help you make those decisions based on your own personal circumstances but will also strongly advocate to help you achieve your goals.  Our attorneys’ knowledge and experience in other areas of law such as business, tax and real estate significantly enhances our ability to provide representation in your family law matter. Please call us at (301) 251-1180 or submit an online inquiry so we can assist you.

Can I get an Absolute Divorce in Maryland if I have been separated for less than 12 months?

The short answer isit depends. Under Maryland law, you must have grounds for divorce before you can file a Complaint for Absolute Divorce. If you have a written separation agreement resolving all issues, including property division, spousal support, and child custody and support then you are not required to be separated before filing for divorce. In addition, if you have proof of adultery, cruelty of treatment, or excessively vicious conduct, there is no separation period required.

If the grounds stated above do not apply to your situation, then you and your spouse must be separated for at least 12 months before you are eligible for an absolute divorce. Note that you may still be entitled to request certain types of relief from the court even if you have been separated for less than 12 months.

Clients often want to know what qualifies as being “separated.” The law requires that neither spouse spend even a single night under the same roof, and the couple must not have engaged in marital relations during the separation period.

Is my spouse entitled to any part of my inheritance?

Generally, your spouse is not entitled to any part of your inheritance, because inheritance is considered non-marital property.  There are, however, important exceptions to this general rule.  If a spouse combines his or her inherited property with marital assets, then the inheritance may be transformed into marital or partially marital property.  Under Maryland law, marital assets are divided equitably by the court at the final divorce hearing. Non-marital assets, like gifts, an inheritance, or pre-marital assets of one party are not divided but remain the property of the party who received the asset, so long as the property is kept separate.

Do I need a lawyer for mediation?

Although a lawyer is not required for mediation, it is almost always in your best interest to have your attorney at the mediation.  It is important to understand that the role of the mediator is to stay impartial and try to facilitate a settlement.  The mediator does not advocate for either person’s position.  Even if you decide not to have an attorney at the mediation, an attorney is still very useful before the mediation to help you understand the process as well as the value of your claims.  After the mediation, an attorney can review any agreement that has been suggested and can advise you of the potential impact of the terms. 

Who gets the house?

Many of our clients want to know if he or she can stay in the marital home or, alternatively, when the marital home can be sold.  As with most issues in family law, the answer is not black and white.  A parent who is awarded custody of minor children may be awarded “use and possession” of the family home for up to three years.  However, a court will consider several factors when deciding whether a parent and the children may stay in the family home and for how long.  If there are no minor children, or the court determines that the children do not need to stay in the home, then a court can either order the sale of the marital home, or permit one spouse to buy out the other’s interest for a price determined as the fair market value.