Columbia Maryland Family Law Attorneys and Divorce Lawyers
Respected advise for couples when a marriage or relationship ends
Clients going through a divorce are stressed and anxious. They wonder what the next steps in their lives will be and how they will afford to move on. They worry about what will happen to their children. Will the children be provided for? How can the effects of a divorce or breakup be minimized? Compounding the emotional turmoil surrounding divorce are questions about how the legal process works, how they can function until the divorce and family issues are resolved, and how they can make sure they and their children are protected.
At McCabe Russell, PA, our Columbia family law attorneys are experienced fighting for spouses, parents and children. We calmly and clearly explain the legal process and fight to put your life on firm footing. We do this by learning your family situation, assessing your mindset and prioritizing your needs. We then advise you about your options, plan a strategy for achieving your divorce and family goals, and fight to achieve those goals. We pride ourselves on giving honest advice. We try to resolve your case amicably, but we are always ready to go to court to assert your rights. We have a reputation for resolving the tough cases.
The major concerns in a Columbia divorce
Divorces are a step-by-step process. The right court papers need to be filed. Both spouses have a right to information about the other side’s financial position, including the ability (or inability) to earn an income, the assets and debts, the health of each party and other considerations.
Divorces are generally resolved in one of four ways:
- An agreement. A contract setting forth what each spouse gets and what they give up.
- Mediation. An independent mediator is appointed to help both sides reach an agreement.
- Divorce collaboration. A negotiation between the spouses and their attorneys.
- A hearing before a family court judge. A formal question-and-answer presentation where the judge makes the final decisions.
The areas that our Columbia divorce lawyers handle include:
- Divorce planning. Most nonconsensual divorces have a one-year waiting period. We plan for how to handle consensual divorces, divorces where you have to wait and divorces where you have grounds such as abuse.
- Divorce negotiation. The keys to negotiating a divorce are thorough preparation, an understanding of your needs and knowledge of the other spouse’s or parent’s positions. We are able to settle many cases because we have tried many cases. Successful litigation helps us advance persuasive arguments and lets opposing counsel know we are able to fight when needed.
- Uncontested divorces. If two spouses do not have minor children and agree to other divorce issues, such as property division and alimony, the couple can file for an uncontested divorce.
- High-conflict divorces. We have handled many cases where the spouses and parents litigated every major and every minor issue. Our Columbia divorce lawyers understand that the stress of a divorce affects the entire family. We advise our clients when settlements are useful and when you just have to fight.
- Equitable distribution. You worked hard, either by your own financial support or by supporting a spouse’s ability to earn a living. You are entitled to a fair split of the marital property. Our lawyers are skilled at analyzing what the value of the marital property really is, including homes, bank accounts, employee benefits and retirement benefits. Many times, we can negotiate trade-offs so the house does not have to be sold.
- Pre- and post-nuptial agreements. Agreements entered into before and during the marriage about what will happen if a couple divorces aren’t romantic, but they can help resolve a lot of conflict if a marriage ends.
- Alimony agreements and orders. Spouses should not be able to use their economic leverage to force a settlement that favors them. Spouses who sacrificed a career for a spouse may be entitled to rehabilitative or indefinite alimony.
The resolution of all of these issues should be put into writing and made part of an enforceable court order.
Providing personal care and financial support for your children
Family courts always put the best interests of the children first. Spouses and parents can control their own lives. Children rely on their parents to give them a home, shelter, food, daily guidance and goals for the future. Children have the right to expect parents will put their differences aside and make sure their sons and daughters are healthy, happy and preparing for productive lives. Our lawyers advise parents that their interests need to mesh with the needs of their children. Our family lawyers protect children and advance the wishes of parents in the following areas:
- Child custody. A decision or ruling must be made as to who will have physical and legal custody of the children. Both parents can share legal and/or physical custody.
- Child support. Maryland uses guidelines that award support based on the parent’s income, the number of children and other factors. Our lawyers work to show your spouse’s or co-parent’s true income.
- Changing existing agreements. Custody and support agreements can only be changed if there is a major change in circumstances, such as the loss of a job, worsening health or relocation of a parent.
- Proving paternity. Paternity is usually verified through genetic testing. In disputed cases, a judge decides the issue of paternity.
- Protective and peace orders. Our Columbia family lawyers have no patience for violence or threats of violence. If you, a child or a family member fears for your safety, we bring immediate actions to order the abuser to stay away from you.
- Adoption. Our Columbia family law attorneys help children be adopted by loving step-parents, LBGTQ couples, married couples, disabled birth parents and minors.
- Best interest attorneys and child advocate. Sometimes children need their own legal counsel. Our lawyers are authorized to serve as attorneys for children. We can serve as child advocates, best interest lawyers and privileged communication attorneys.
- Parenting coordination. A parent coordinator assists parents for the transition from married parents or parents who live together to parents leading separate lives. Although the parents live apart, they need to understand how to work together for their children’s well-being.
One of our founding lawyers, Heather McCabe, is a certified parenting coordinator, which means she is adept at working through marital discord to do what is best for the children. Both partners, Heather McCabe and Emily Russell, are certified to act as legal advocates for children.
Helping same-sex couples in Columbia
Our attorneys represent everyone. Same-sex couples are now allowed to marry in Maryland because of a recent Supreme Court of the United States decision. Our lawyers help LGBTQ couples navigate the end of their marriage. We help these couples address the issues of divorce, equitable division of property, alimony, custody of children and support for children. We also handle domestic partnership agreements. We represent the LGBTQ community with the sincere and honest respect everyone deserves.
Types of Cases We Handle
Our Columbia family law attorneys handle a variety of cases, including:
Speak with an experienced Columbia family lawyer today
Assert your rights. Protect your children. McCabe Russell, PA fights for parties in divorces and child disputes. We understand which priorities matter. Through experience, we use many insights and strategies that can help resolve disputes and persuade judges. Our Columbia family law attorneys help with your temporary struggles and long-term needs. For help now, please phone us at 410-849-6668 or fill out our contact form.