Howard County, MD Family Lawyer

Family law can be incredibly complex and emotionally taxing. Our Howard County family law team is here to help. We handle a variety of cases, from divorce to adoption to guardianship. Regardless of the situation you’re in, trust us to represent your interests and values fully. Call us today at 410-995-1100 for a free consultation.

Our family law practice areas include:

Divorce

Depending on the nature of your divorce, it could be settled in a matter of weeks, or it could take many months to work out all the details. Whether your divorce is simple or complex, it’s crucial you have an experienced attorney representing you through the entire process.

In Maryland, you may be granted an absolute or a limited divorce. There are certain conditions that must be met for either scenario. For an “immediate” absolute divorce, you must have fault-based grounds for it. Otherwise, you must separate for one to two years for a full divorce to be granted. During that separation, a limited divorce may be granted.

Paternity

If the question of a child’s parentage is unsettled, the issue may need to be determined in a divorce or paternity proceeding. A child’s legal father has a legal right to participate in custody and visitation where applicable, and a legal obligation to financially support his children.

Children can also benefit from knowing their legal father in many ways, including knowing their medical history and securing the right to inherit or obtain certain government benefits, such as social security or veteran’s benefits. Genetic testing is only one way in which parentage may be determined. We represent parties seeking to establish or challenge paternity and resolve related matters.

Child Custody

Child custody can easily become of the most bitter aspects of a divorce and legal separation. In general, custody can be divided into legal and physical custody, as well as sole and joint custody. The parent with legal custody determines where the child will go to school, their doctor, their religious affiliation, etc. Physical custody indicates where the child will live.

A parent may have sole physical or legal custody, or one or both aspects may be shared with joint custody. The court will decide on custody matters based on the best interest of the child. If sole physical custody is awarded, visitation will also need to be addressed by the court.

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Child Support

Whether one parent has physical custody or joint physical custody is ordered, child support will likely still be a factor that needs to be considered. Maryland uses a specific formula to determine which parent will need to pay child support, and how much will be paid. Once the court finalizes their decision, it can generally only be amended under specific circumstances.

There are a variety of factors that go into determining child support payments. These include each parent’s income, healthcare expenses, child care expenses and more. It’s important to note that, even if you never married the child’s other parent, you may still be liable for child support.

Property Division

In Maryland, marital property division is done so “equitably.” This means both parties may not get a 50/50 split of property bought or acquired during the marriage. Courts determine the distribution based on any number of factors, such as financial needs and length of the marriage. Both debts and assets are distributed fairly in a divorce.

Normally, separate property (such as property owned before the marriage or an inheritance) is not divided between parties. However, if those assets become commingled, such as an inheritance being put in a shared bank account, it could be split between the spouses.

Adoption

If you are thinking of growing your family by adopting, you have made a truly wonderful and blessed decision. However, it is important to seek advice and representation from an experienced family law attorney. The adoption process can involve a significant investment of time, money and emotion, and you do not want to encounter a pitfall that derails the process. We can assist in private placement or agency adoptions.

If you are desiring to adopt your stepchild, we can advise you on the process and help you with the necessary steps, including obtaining consent from the biological parent or initiating a proceeding to terminate parental rights. We can represent a biological parent wishing to block a stepparent adoption as well.

 

Guardianship

Howard County, MD, Divorce & Family Lawyer

When the parents of a minor cannot care for their child, whether due to death, incarceration, institutionalization or incapacity, the court will step in and appoint a legal guardian to take on that parental role.

The guiding force behind the court’s decision is what is in the child’s best interests. If you are a grandparent or other family member or interested party, we can help you prove your case to become a child’s guardian or challenge the appointment of someone else you believe is unfit.

Domestic Violence

Domestic abuse is sometimes a cause for divorce, and other times it erupts during the emotional process of separation and marriage dissolution. A domestic violence charge can impact all aspects of a divorce, including child custody, spousal support and the division of property.

If you are being abused or fear you are in danger, get to a safe place and contact the police, shelter or domestic violence hotline. Whether filing a charge of abuse or defending yourself against one, contact an experienced family law attorney to advise you on the ramifications these charges can have on your divorce or child custody.

Caring, Dedicated and Experienced Maryland Family Lawyers Working for You

If you need a Maryland family law attorney for a divorce or other domestic law matter, we are here for you. In Columbia, Howard County and surrounding areas, contact the Coover Law Firm today by phone at 410-995-1100 or online for a free consultation.

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