DIVORCE AND PROPERTY DIVISION
Because of changes to Maryland divorce laws in 2015, couples may find there are fewer restrictions to divorce. There are still two specific types of divorce, absolute divorce and limited divorce. Limited divorces are similar to legal separations; they do not terminate the marriage nor are rights to property determined. Absolute divorce is final and can include property division and other decisions. Both absolute and limited divorces may decide if alimony payments are appropriate.
Maryland recognizes both fault and no fault divorces; couples with no children who agree on issues may draw up an agreement and present it to the court; this is called mutual consent and the court may approve an absolute divorce.
There are numerous other issues which must be settled or decided during divorce including property division, and spousal support. Property division is done equitably; the courts will typically try to determine what property is considered premarital and post marital. Typically, property that was owned by one party or the other prior to the marriage will remain that spouse's property.
CHILD CUSTODY AND ACCESS
Child custody is usually broken up into two parts, legal custody or who makes decisions for the child, and physical custody, where the child lives. The court will always make decisions regarding child custody according to the best interest of the child. Parents may agree on joint legal custody but in all cases, it must be in the child's best interests.
Child access or visitation refers to time a child spends with the parent they do not primarily live with. Visitation can be defined by a set schedule or undefined and liberal.
MEDIATION AND ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
Litigation can become expensive, and is not the answer for everyone. In some cases, individuals may consider alternative dispute resolution, as a way to resolve the dispute. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that allows parties to meet with a neutral third party mediator to help resolve the issues. As a mediator in the State of Maryland, we can provide mediation services for you and your spouse. While we understand mediation can lead to a better outcome for everyone, we also understand that in some cases, litigation cannot be prevented.
ENFORCEMENT OF POST- DIVORCE COURT ORDERS
Unfortunately, despite court orders, child support, spousal support and property liquidations do not always occur in a manner set by the order or agreement. In these instances, you may need to file a request with the court to force your ex-spouse to follow through with the court orders. This requires a contempt order; a petition to the court to force your ex-spouse to follow through. We can help with drafting the necessary documents to the court to enforce a court order to provide visitation, make support payments, or follow through on property division matters that were ordered as part of the divorce.
Domestic violence matters are taken seriously. If you are in immediate danger you should call 911 or reach out to law enforcement immediately. If you are in fear of a spouse or ex-spouse, we can help you obtain orders of protection. If you have been served with a protection order, you also have the right to defend the allegations against you. Contact a lawyer today for representation at the temporary or final protective order hearing.
Law Office of Jerry Williams III, is conveniently located in Annapolis, Maryland and provides a range of family law services across the State of Maryland including Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Charles, Howard, and Prince George's County. Contact our office today to set up a consultation.