Howard County divorce lawyer
Unable to reach an agreement or having difficulty with your divorce proceeding? Coover Law Firm, LLC is here to help.
Divorce can sometimes be a relatively simple process, especially if both sides agree to the terms of the divorce. However, when divorcing spouses are unable to reach an agreement, things can quickly become complicated.
In either situation, you must consult an experienced Howard County divorce lawyer as soon as possible to make sure that your interests are protected. Decisions made in the early stages of the divorce process can greatly impact the final outcome and can have lasting consequences.
Fred L. Coover, Esquire, has served families in the Columbia area and beyond for over 35 years. He understands the ins and outs of the law and aggressively advocates for his clients to protect their interests. Call Coover Law Firm, LLC today at (410) 553-5042 to arrange a time to discuss your unique situation. In the meantime, learn more about the purpose of the initial consultation with an attorney.
Cost of divorce in Howard County, MD
No two divorces are alike, so the cost of ending a marriage can vary greatly by couple. Generally speaking, the cost of a divorce includes court filing fees, attorney’s fees, and fees for any additional services used such as forensic accountants, appraisers, or mediators.
At Coover Law Firm, LLC, we strive to keep the divorce process as affordable as possible for our clients without sacrificing the quality of our services.
Contested or uncontested divorce is the greatest factor affecting costs
One of the ways we aim to keep costs low for our clients is to pursue an uncontested divorce whenever possible. An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties are in agreement on all issues at hand.
These cases tend to require minimal involvement from the Court and can often be resolved more quickly than a contested divorce. As a result, the parties need less of an attorney’s time to complete their divorce, resulting in a significantly lower cost.
When divorcing parties cannot agree on one or more issues, it is considered a contested divorce. In this case, the Court must intervene to resolve any disagreements. This typically calls for more attorney involvement and can end up being substantially more expensive. While not always ideal, some cases must go to court to reach a fair resolution — if that is your situation, we will explore creative solutions to help keep the costs within your budget.
Who pays attorney costs and fees in a divorce?
In most Howard County divorce cases, each spouse is responsible for paying the attorney costs and fees they personally incur throughout the process. However, the Court has the authority to order one party to pay a portion or all of the other’s legal costs in certain situations.
One possible scenario where the court may order one spouse to pay the other’s attorney fees is when there is a significant income disparity between the parties. For example, if one spouse served as the primary breadwinner in the marriage while the other stayed home to raise children, the higher earner may be responsible for all of the homemaker’s legal fees.
“At-fault” divorces are another situation in which the court might order one spouse to cover attorney costs. If a spouse is found primarily responsible for the breakdown of the marriage, such as in cases involving domestic abuse or infidelity, the court may require them to pay for the other spouse’s fees. A fee award in this scenario depends largely on the circumstances of the case.
Why you need a lawyer for divorce
Many people enter the divorce process hoping to save money by doing it themselves. While this might be possible in some cases, the risks far outweigh the potential rewards. Errors and oversights in the paperwork can cost you time, money, and emotional distress later on. Without representation from a dedicated legal advocate, your rights could be compromised without you even realizing it.
Your future is too important to gamble with, so it is vital that you have an experienced Howard County family lawyer on your side. You need someone who understands the law, knows the court system, and is committed to protecting your interests — and that is exactly what you will get when you work with Coover Law Firm, LLC.
How our Howard County divorce attorneys can help
It pays to have a trusted legal partner on your side during the divorce process. At Coover Law Firm, LLC, we stand by our clients every step of the way and strive to protect their rights and interests at all times. Depending on the circumstances of your case, this may involve:
- Discussing your legal options with you
- Filling out and submitting the divorce petition
- Gathering evidence to support your case
- Negotiating with the other party to reach an agreement outside of court
- Advocating for you before the judge in court hearings
- Helping you understand the terms of legal documents
- Advising you on your rights and duties once the divorce is finalized
With our help, you can free your time and energy for more important matters — such as healing and moving forward into a brighter future — while we take care of the legal details.
Divorce process in Maryland
In a proceeding for separation or dissolution of marriage in Maryland, the parties must come to an agreement or receive a court order on important issues such as the division of marital property, child custody and visitation, and payment of child support. If the divorcing couple cannot collaboratively resolve all of these matters, either amongst themselves or with the assistance of a mediator, then the Judge will rule on those matters at a trial on the issues.
The Court has the discretion and authority to rule on matters that are in the best interests of the children, and that are based on the most persuasive arguments made by the parties’ attorneys. Even the outcome of child support, which is normally based on statutory guidelines and formulas, can be specially set or deviate from the guideline decided based on the needs of the children and the arguments presented in court.
Length of divorce
The length of the divorce process in Howard County can vary greatly, with factors such as the grounds for divorce, whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, and the complexity of the issues at hand all influencing how long it will take.
If your divorce is fault-based, meaning one spouse is proven to be primarily responsible for the breakdown of the marriage, you can begin the Maryland divorce process as soon as you are ready.
Proving fault can be a lengthy process depending on the situation, but these cases are not subject to pre-filing waiting periods. However, most fault-based divorces are contested and highly complex, which can also add a substantial amount of time to the process.
A similar concept applies if your divorce is uncontested and has a written settlement agreement already prepared at the time of filing. These cases will require some pre-filing work to negotiate and draft the agreement, but once it is ready, uncontested divorces can be completed quickly.
Contested no-fault divorce
On the other hand, if you are filing for a contested no-fault divorce, you and your spouse must have lived separately for 12 months before you can file. This mandatory waiting period can add a considerable amount of time to the process, so it is important to be aware of and plan for this delay.
Once you are eligible to file, your case may be subject to additional wait times between court hearings and other proceedings that can also increase the overall length of the divorce. As a result, the entire process for this type of divorce can sometimes take much longer than you might hope for, especially without knowledgeable representation.
Final documents in a divorce
After the divorce is finalized, the Court will issue documents that officially end your marriage. Most notable is the divorce decree, which is signed by the judge and includes a summary of the legal proceedings, rulings made on issues such as property division, child support and alimony, and any other relevant information.
In cases involving minor children, the Court will also issue a parenting plan that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each parent with regard to their children. It includes details on physical custody, legal custody, visitation, decision-making, and more.
These are only two of the most common final documents issued in Maryland divorce cases, and your divorce may result in additional documents depending on the unique circumstances of your case. Any documents issued by the Court are legally binding, so if you need help interpreting your divorce decree or other documents, it is best to consult with an experienced family law attorney.
Why choose Coover Law Firm, LLC
When your family’s future is riding on the outcome of a divorce case, experience matters. With over 35 years of experience helping people in Howard County and beyond obtain favorable legal outcomes, Attorney Fred Coover has seen it all and knows how to get results.
Mr. Coover spends much of his free time engaging with local, state, and national legal associations, meaning he is always up to date on the latest developments in family law. He has been serving on the Executive Council of the Maryland State Bar Association Resolution of Fee Disputes Committee since 2001, and his professional membership with the Howard County Bar Association gives him unique insight into local matters.
At Coover Law Firm, LLC, we hold ourselves to a strict set of ethical standards that put our clients first. When you work with us during the trying time of your divorce, you will be put at ease by our compassionate and respectful attitude and dedication to protecting your rights. It is all part of our commitment to helping you reach a better tomorrow.
Let our Howard County divorce lawyers help you
It is essential to have a knowledgeable and experienced Howard County divorce lawyer who knows the judges and family law magistrates and understands the nuances specific to your local court system. If you live in Columbia, Clarksville, Ellicott City, Fulton, or other surrounding areas in Howard County, MD, click here for general information about the Circuit Court for Howard County.
If you are facing separation or divorce, our Howard County divorce lawyer can provide the advice and representation you need to ensure that your rights, interests, and family are protected during this emotional time.