New and Noteworthy

Selected as Best of Howard County Readers' Favorites - December 2019

Navigating you through consultations:

Going through this pandemic is stressful enough, but when you compound divorce and custody matters, it can be unbearable. During this difficult time, I am offering potential clients phone consultations up to thirty minutes, free of charge. Please contact me if any family law questions
#familylaw #custody #divorce #childcustody #childsupport #domestic

Navigating you through this uncertain time:

As many families are self-quarantining and social distances, it is not clear what "immediate family" means when you are divorced and have minor children. I've received a lot of calls from clients trying to figure out the line between protecting their children and custodial/visitation interference.
This is the time to meditate, However difficult it may be, keep in mind that your children are experiencing a significant amount of uncertainty. There are excellent mediators out there, and with applications like Zoom, mediation doesn't have to wait. If you are looking for a recommendation for a local mediator or just advise in general, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
#divorce #custody #children #mediation #custodydispute #custodialinterfere #visitation

Navigating you through this uncertain time:

I'm sure that a lot of you are concerned that the courts are limiting matters being heard. Rest assured that the courts are still hearing matters related to emergency matters including custody and domestic violence.
"Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Maryland state courts will require only essential employees to report to courthouse locations and court offices. Court locations and offices will be minimally staffed to hear emergency court matters and to answer calls between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. All other employees able to work from home will do so at the direction of their supervisor.
Emergency matters include, but are not limited to, domestic violence petitions, family law emergencies, extreme risk protective orders, bail reviews, juvenile detention hearings, and search warrants. These matters will continue to be processed by the courts and its reduced workforce until Friday, April 3, 2020, or further notice."

Navigating you through child support:

Have you recently tried to reach the Office of Child Support and been met with difficulty? The purpose of the child support office is to ensure that the individual ordered to pay child support is meeting his or her obligation. The office is also tasked with ensuring that the person who is to receive child support gets his or her monthly payments. I have heard from a number of clients that they have been told that they don't have an open case (even though there is a wage garnishment) or that he was unable to get an accounting of his own payment obligations. I even have a client that was told there was no way for child support to calculate the arrears owed to her. A Magistrate had to tell my client that the case worker did not know what he was talking about and it is that office's job to determine arrears due and owing. If you are having difficulties navigating through the office of child support, please contact me for a consultation. The Office of Child Support should be working for you, not against you.

Navigating you through custody:

Contrary to what many people believe, there is no maternal preference when the courts make a determination regarding custody. In fact, the courts always favor both parents have maximum contact with their children. The courts determine custody based upon what is in "the best interest of the child or children." The factors that the court looks at include fitness of each parent, the character and reputation of each parent and the potentiality of maintaining family relations. There is a lot of incorrect information on the internet. If you have any custody questions, please contact my office to set up a consultation.
#familylaw #custody #schedule #childcustody #child #childsupport

Navigating you through modifying custody:

Custody is always modifiable in the state of Maryland. If there is a material change in circumstances, e.g. a parent is travelling more for work or a parent is assuming more of the weekly overnights, then either party may file to modify custody. Once it is proven to the Court that there is a material change, then the Court must determine what is in the best interest of the children. The Court will not address the best interests of the child(ren), unless it is proven that there is a material change in circumstance. This means that you can't just ask for modification because you think your child(ren) are better off spending more or less time with the other parent. Always get advice of counsel before filing for modification.
#childcustody #custody #modificationofcustody

Navigating you through your divorce:

The idea of going to trial can be very intimidating and scary. I always recommend and strive for a way to help my clients settle their case. However, don't take a bad deal just because you don't want to fight anymore. Property, financial settlements and Alimony cannot be modified once there is a settlement agreement reach and either in writing or on the record. Once you waive alimony or reach property settlement, you cannot go back to court to ask for a modification. While custody and child support are always modifiable, there must be a material change in circumstance before the court will grant a modification. This is not as easy as it sounds. If it is a settlement that you cannot live with, don't settle and fight for what you want.

Navigating you through Divorce:

Mutual Consent Divorce: Currently, married couples can forgo the one-year separation period and file for a
divorce on the grounds of mutual consent as long as they have a written separation agreement, but only if they have no minor children. This law has now changed. Beginning October 1, 2018, married couples who have minor children will also be able to forgo the one-year separation period and obtain a divorce on mutual consent grounds. There is still the requirement of a written separation agreement and that agreement must not only resolve all financial issues between the parties, but also resolve custody, access, and support of the minor children.
#divorce #marriage #children #childcustody

Navigating you through your divorce:

When there are problems in a marriage, people are hesitant to speak to an attorney because it implies you are ready to move forward with a divorce. Even if you are not ready to move forward, there is no harm in getting information. You should know your rights. Too many times once spouse spends an hour on Google and thinks they know the law in Maryland and uses that information to intimidate the other party. Don't be intimidated. Call me for a consultation whether you are ready to file or not.
#divorce #marriage #children #childcustody #childsupport #spousalsupport