At Haspel, McLeod & Drawbaugh, P.C., we apply our skill and depth of experience to helping our clients through the divorce process successfully and with a minimum of stress. Dissolving a marriage is in many ways like closing down a business, requiring redistribution of assets and debts and realignment of responsibilities. There are also emotionally charged issues, such as child custody, to be resolved. Whether your divorce is amicable, contentious or somewhere in between, our experienced Frederick and Rockville divorce attorneys can protect your rights while achieving optimal solutions.
Couples are sometimes on the fence about whether they want to dissolve their marriage completely. A separation can help parties determine whether they may be able to reconcile after time spent apart. Maryland law provides for a formal separation — known as a limited divorce — by which the spouses either agree upon or ask the court to decide issues of child custody, child support, alimony and allocation of property and debt. We advise our clients on the economic and logistical advantages of pursuing the separation option.
Living under a separation order for one year allows either spouse to seek a no-fault divorce if no reconciliation is achieved. A divorce on this ground requires that the spouses have not cohabited during the one-year period. This is generally satisfied if the parties are no longer having sexual relations. Spouses can also obtain a divorce based on mutual consent, without a separation period, provided that they enter a settlement agreement providing for the care, custody, access and support of minor or dependent children, if any.
Maryland law also specifies fault grounds for divorce such as adultery, desertion, insanity and a spouse’s criminal conviction. Another fault ground is cruelty or excessively vicious conduct toward a spouse or child. This includes not only domestic violence but also mental abuse, such as controlling behavior, taunting, threats of violence, isolation from friends or family and other misconduct that may seriously impair the health or happiness of the other spouse. Even where domestic violence is not a ground for divorce, we help victims seek orders of protection during the divorce proceeding.
Our skilled divorce lawyers devise legal strategies that aid in establishing the property division, support and custody arrangements that are optimal for our client’s circumstances. We will protect your rights and interests with respect:
When both spouses are committed to resolving disputes, it is possible to reach a fair outcome even when parties do not always agree, using alternative dispute resolution methods such as:
We are also skilled in resolving issues particular to same-sex divorces. These include custody and visitation disputes between birth parents and de facto parents, the latter of whom have raised children as their own even though they have not acquired formal adoptive rights.
The lawyers at Haspel, McLeod & Drawbaugh, P.C. represent individuals and families throughout Frederick, Montgomery, Washington and Howard counties in all matters relating to divorce. To schedule your free initial consultation at our Frederick or Rockville office, call us at 301-631-0592 or contact us online.