Towson Family Law Lawyers
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to your Concerns about Family Law, Personal Injury and Estate Law
At the Maryland law firm of Huesman, Jones and Miles, LLC, our attorneys are pleased to discuss your legal questions about a broad range of topics.
Will I get an equal share of the marital property during my divorce?
In a Maryland divorce, property is divided equitably, which is not the same as equally. The family court judge divides your marital assets in a manner that is meant to be fair to both parties. However, our Baltimore divorce lawyers can help you negotiate the division of your property outside of court so your actual needs are met.
Is the child custody payment pre-determined by the court?
While Maryland law provides child support guidelines for the family court judge to use, you may not have to follow these guidelines if you and your spouse feel that a different amount is appropriate. Our Baltimore child support lawyers help you arrive at a reasonable proposal for the child support award.
Is there a waiting period to get a divorce in Maryland?
Typically yes, but it depends. Most divorces are done via a separation of the parties, which requires a one year separation. However, if adultery, cruelty of treatment or excessively vicious conduct is the ground, they can be filed immediately. In addition, if the parties have a written settlement agreement, they may be able to obtain a divorce without waiting for the year separation.
What issues can be addressed in a legal separation agreement?
Any issue that can be addressed in a divorce can be addressed in separation agreement. These include property distribution, alimony, child support, and child custody.
Are “irreconcilable differences” grounds for divorce?
If the parties live separate and apart continuously without cohabitation for twelve months, either party can file for divorce. While this is not technically “irreconcilable differences” the idea is the same.
Is a no-fault divorce possible?
Yes, a no fault divorce is available if the parties without interruption live separate and apart without cohabitation for a year. In fact, that is the most common ground for divorce.
What are the fault grounds for divorce?
Adultery, desertion, imprisonment, insanity, cruelty of treatment and excessively vicious conduct.
What evidence is needed to prove adultery?
Circumstantial evidence showing a disposition on the part of the spouse and the alleged paramour to commit adultery and an opportunity to commit the offense. They do not actually have to be caught in the act.
What is desertion?
Desertion is a grounds for divorce if it is deliberate, final, and has lasted at least 12 months with no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. The desertion could be actual desertion where one party leaves or expels the other spouse, by a forcible ejection. The desertion could also be constructive desertion, which includes a large number of acts, including cruelty or intolerable misconduct, unjustified refusal of intercourse, unjustified refusal to live separate from parents or other relations, abnormal sexual demands, attention to members of the opposite sex short of adultery, unjustified charges of infidelity, and homosexuality, when paired with a pattern of persistent conduct.
What does “without cohabitation” mean?
The couple cannot spend the night together under the same roof and cannot engage in sexual relations with each other.
When is someone legally justified in leaving a marriage?
The biggest reason is if the spouse who wants to end the marriage is physically or sexually abused. Lesser known grounds would be insanity of the other party, adultery, or imprisonment of the other party.
Is Maryland a “community property” state?
No. Maryland is an equitable distribution state where the court splits the assets fairly. This often but not always means that the assets are split 50/50. There are many factors that the court looks at to ensure the assets are split fairly. These include monetary and nonmonetary contributions to the well-being of the family, the value of all property interests of each party, the economic circumstances of each party at the time the award is to be made, the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties, the duration of the marriage, the age of each party, the physical and mental condition of each party, how and when property was acquired, the nonmarital contributions of property by either party, and any alimony or use and possession award.
What factors does the court look at in determining child custody?
In terms of child custody, the court is solely charged with determining the best interests of the child. The court considers a number of factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child. These include the fitness of the parents; the character and reputation of the parents; the desire of the parents and the content of any agreement between them; the potential of maintaining natural family relations; the preference of the child, if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form a rational judgment; any material opportunities affecting the future life of the child; the age, health, and sex of the child; the suitability of the residences of the parents; whether the non-custodial parent will have adequate opportunities for visitation; how long the child has been separated from a natural parent who is seeking custody; and the effect of any prior voluntary abandonment or surrender of custody of the child.
How is child support determined?
There are very specific guidelines that determine what child support is available. The Courts rarely deviate from these guidelines. These guidelines take into account the income of both parties, and certain expenses of both parties including medical expenses, work-related child expenses and school and transportation expenses.
What is meant by marital property? How is it divided?
Marital Property is the property, however it is titled, acquired by one or both spouses during the marriage. It is divided in an attempt to be fair to both spouses. Typically, but not always, marital property is divided 50/50.
What is a protective order?
A protective order is an order entered by the court as a result of domestic violence. This can be violence against a child, a spouse, a live-in significant other, or some other relative. This is an order that often lasts one year, and can order a variety of things including a stay away order, departure by one party from a jointly owned or rented house, temporary custody of a minor child, emergency family support, temporary use of a vehicle, counseling, temporary possession of a pet, and surrender of a firearm.
When is alimony awarded? What factors are considered?
Alimony is typically awarded when there is one spouse who will be significantly more secure financially than another. Typically only temporary alimony can be awarded, in an attempt to allow the financially dependent spouse an opportunity to develop skills and employment, so that he/she can support himself/herself. The factors that are considered include the financially dependent spouse’s ability to be self-supporting, time needed to educate or train the dependent spouse, the standard of living that the parties established during their marriage, the duration of the marriage, the contributions, monetary and non-monetary of each party to the well-being of the family, the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties, the age and the physical condition of each party, the ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet his or her own needs, any agreement between the parties, financial needs and resources of the parties, and if one spouse is institutionalized.
What happens to our marital home when we divorce?
Many different things can happen, and this is one source of negotiation when you are trying to reach a settlement. Typically one of two things happens. If neither party wants to live in the house, the house can be sold and the proceeds divided. If one or both parties want the house, there can be a negotiation to buy the other party out.
Accidents and injuries
Can I get compensation for an accident that I might have partially caused?
Fault is a complex issue in any accident in Maryland. Even if you feel as though you were responsible for your accident, you may not be considered legally at fault. Our lawyers can help you determine whether you have a case.
Are damages available for my pain and suffering?
Possibly. You may be entitled to general damages, also known as non-economic damages. The amount of potential compensation varies depending on factors such as the extent of your injuries and whether you are the survivor in a wrongful death action. Our lawyers assess the circumstances of your case to determine whether you may be entitled to general damages.
Should I use a living trust to avoid probate?
Not necessarily. A trust can sometimes be more costly than probate in the long run. However, you may need a trust if you have property in two states or you want to hold assets to be distributed under particular circumstances. Our estate planning attorneys can advise you if a trust is helpful in your situation.
Do I need an attorney to administer a will?
Although an estate executor is not required to hire an attorney, we recommend that you do. Your duties are relatively straightforward but can quickly become complicated if you miss a filing deadline or the will is challenged. Let our attorneys assist you from the start to ensure a smooth and uncomplicated probate process.