Divorce Lawyer Rockville MD
How much does a divorce lawyer cost?
The Law Office of Daniel J. Wright
If you are going through a Maryland divorce and are wondering how much does a divorce lawyer in Rockville, MD cost, rest assured that here at The Law Office of Daniel J. Wright, we can provide the answers you are looking for. We can explain in detail what divorce legal terms mean and how they may affect your case. But in the meantime, here is a general overview:
In an ideal world, the process of divorcing someone would be smooth, amicable, and inexpensive. The truth, however, is usually far from those three things. There is often a lot of emotion and hurt feelings wrapped up in resentment and bitterness at the relationship that failed. Those feelings are so easily turned on each other and the blame game begins. It is imperative that you have a trusted and experienced attorney, who specializes in divorce, represent you. The following information is intended to help prepare you for the divorce process and provide information regarding the role of your attorney from the beginning stages.
Getting a divorce is a serious decision, so you should turn to a divorce law firm in Rockville, MD like the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright you can rely on. It’s not something that you just want to decide one day and then file paperwork for. When you take some steps to prepare, the divorce lawyers Rockville, MD trusts knows you can protect your financial position, set some goals, and figure out your legal rights and responsibilities.
Gather Financial Information
Once you or your spouse move out of the house, it is going to be more difficult to get access to financial information. You want copies of the mortgage, car loans, bank accounts, and retirement accounts before you go to a Rockville, Maryland divorce law firm. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress by making copies of information to present to the court.
Think About Your Child Custody Arrangements
Child custody, visitation, and support can be fairly contentious aspects of a divorce. By thinking about everyone’s schedule and needs, from work to school, you can come up with a better arrangement that takes everything into account. You will be way ahead of the process if your spouse will work with you. If there is abuse or domestic violence, you may need to have a safety plan before leaving.
Discuss Spending Money With a Rockville Divorce Law Firm
In some states, once you file for divorce, you can’t make big purchases or sell property without the consent of the court. This prevents one person from draining the bank account after filing for divorce. You should not drain the bank account before filing for divorce because that can come back to haunt you later. It is a good idea to know what you can and cannot do to protect your rights. Ask your attorney from a reliable divorce law firm in Rockville, Maryland how to handle joint accounts and credit cards before your divorce.
Figure Out Where You Will Live
Housing issues can be contentious, too. If you want to keep the family residence, then you should not move out before filing for divorce because it can weaken your case. You will need to talk to your attorney about living arrangements and how to protect yourself to get what you hope for. You should also ask about residency requirements if you are moving.
Don’t Live as if You Are Already Single
Lavish trips with another person could be seen as major purchases using marital money if you are not divorced. Although most jurisdictions have no-fault divorces, spending money on a romantic partner may be frowned upon. Give yourself time to grieve the loss of relationship. Even if you and your spouse agree that the marriage is over, you need time to process the changes.
Contact a trusted divorce law firm in Rockville, MD like the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright to follow the proper process.
Petition for Divorce
This is the document that a spouse files with the court when they want to end their marriage. In some states it is referred to as a Dissolution of Marriage petition. The petition will detail the grounds for divorcing, as well as the factual support for those grounds. A petition will need to be filed in the same jurisdiction that the divorce proceedings will take place, typically in the town or county where one of the two parties is currently living. There is no benefit to filing the petition versus receiving it, so it does not really matter who is the one to file. The petition should include:
- Grounds for Divorce. States have different grounds that are recognized. The most common grounds for divorce is referred to as “no-fault”, which is accepted in all states. If you choose no-fault, neither party has to prove that the other person is at fault for the divorce, it is considered a mutual decision.
- Parties. The names of the two divorcing parties.
- Children. The names and ages of the children if there are any.
- Custody Requests. How much information you need to include in the petition may vary depending on the state that you are filing in. However, most states require that you at least include your custody request, i.e., primary, secondary, full custody, or shared custody.
- Alimony and Child Support. You do not have to identify a specific amount at this stage, but most states require a statement that you will be seeking alimony and/or child support.
- Shared or Separate Property. When necessary, a judge will determine the separation of property. The intervention of a judge is necessary when the two parties cannot agree on a fair separation of property. In the event that the two parties do agree, the specifics of how the property will be separated should be included in the petition.
The petition does not need to be specific at this stage and your attorney can assist you with how much to include according to the laws of your state. The party who receives the petition will have an opportunity to agree or disagree with the information therein. In the event that it is not amicable and the parties do not agree on any of the following grounds for divorce, child custody, alimony and/or child support, or the division of property, the court will arrange for negotiation conferences.
In the event that the custody of the children is in dispute, the court may arrange for mediation and possibly bring a professional, such as a social worker, in to evaluate all parties involved. When there is disagreement regarding the terms of a divorce, it is important to protect your wishes by having an experienced attorney from the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright looking out for you.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, the majority of divorces take time to go through the process and have a final order issued. However, during this process, there are often decisions that need to be addressed, even if only temporarily. With a temporary order – also referred to as an interim order – the court can establish a temporary custody order, temporary child and/or spousal support, and which spouse will reside in the family home. The court can also issue a temporary restraining order prohibiting either spouse from accessing bank accounts or disposing of property when it is suspected there could be an attempt to hide assets from the other spouse. A temporary order is void once the final divorce decree is issued.
Each state has its own laws regarding how the marital estate is divided and a divorce lawyer from our law firm can help. Some states have community property laws, which mean that assets and property acquired by the couple during their marriage belongs to both of them. Asset and property owned by either spouse prior to marriage is separate property, however, if any of that property is commingled with the community property then it too becomes community property. For example, if either spouse has bank accounts before they are married and then takes those funds and places those in a joint account, those funds now become part of the marital estate. Exceptions include separate property given to a spouse as an inheritance or a gift. Your lawyer can provide more details.
Many states that are not community property states divide the marital estate using equitable distribution rules. Any assets, property, or debts the couple has are divided fairly, but not equally. The court will take into account several factors when determining what a fair distribution is, including how long the couple was married, what the earning capacity of each spouse is, and who the children will primarily reside with.
Every parent has a legal obligation to support their child, no matter what state they live in. Every state has child support laws that determine which parent will be obligated to pay support to the other parent and how much that support should be. Talk to your divorce lawyer to get an estimate of the anticipated payment amount.
Spousal support is often referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance. It is not automatically ordered in a divorce like child support is. The court makes its decision on whether or not one spouse should pay the other spouse based on certain factors, such as the length of the marriage, the lifestyle the couple had, and what the earning capacity is of the spouse requesting support. A lawyer can review your case to determine if there are any applicable factors that could affect the terms of the spousal support.
Other Important Financial Concerns in a Divorce
There the above issues are certainly some of the most important issues that a couple needs to agree upon in a divorce, there are also several other issues that are also important, but they are also often overlooked if a person does not have a skilled Rockville MD divorce lawyer representing them. If these issues are not addressed sufficiently during the divorce, you can find yourself in a financial nightmare after the divorce has been finalized.
Don’t Forget About Marital Debt
One of these issues is allocation of martial debt. While just about everyone is very aware of the fact that a couple’s assets and property need to be fairly divided in a divorce, they sometimes forget about the debt the couple may have accumulated during their marriage. That debt also has to be distributed. In most situations, both spouses are responsible for any debt that the couple owes. This is usually the case even if only one spouse made the purchase.
If a spouse agrees to pay the debt during divorce negotiations, but fails to follow through with that agreement, the creditor can go after the other spouse, even though the divorce agreement says otherwise. This is one reason why a divorce lawyer in Rockville MD may suggest that marital assets are sold off in order to pay any marital debt off during divorce negotiations.
Don’t Forget About Potential Tax Consequences of Divorce
Another area that many people going through a divorce tend to forget about is what the possible tax liabilities may be for any division of assets and/or property that takes place in the divorce. While transferring of assets should have no affect on a person’s tax liability, there could be consequences if those assets are then sold.
The other common tax issue that comes up in divorce is who will take the child dependency exemption each year. If the couple has an even number of children, they can split the exemption. But if they only have one child or an odd number of children, they will need to come up with an agreement, such as taking the exemption on alternating years.
Don’t Forget About Retirement Accounts
Dividing retirement accounts can be complex in a divorce and require the experience of a Rockville MD divorce lawyer. This is especially true if part of the funds in a retirement account were accumulated before the marriage and some of the funds were accumulated during the marriage. Only the portion of funds that were accumulated during the marriage is considered part of the marital estate.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer ASAP
When your marriage is coming to an end, working through the process of a divorce or legal separation can be challenging without the guidance of an experienced divorce lawyer in Rockville, MD. Chances are, you know people who have gone through a divorce both with and without relying on an attorney. But perhaps you wonder what benefits could come from having a lawyer handle the details of your own divorce. While it depends on the situation, having a skilled and capable attorney could mean mitigating conflict and coming to a compromise that works for you.
Have you recently asked yourself how much does a divorce lawyer cost? If you are looking for a divorce lawyer couples know they can trust, consider the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright. We have more than 35 years of comprehensive experience and can give you the peace of mind you need to make better decisions throughout this difficult process.
Requirements for Divorce in Maryland
Before you start down the road of getting a divorce in Maryland, there are a few details that you should know. First, Maryland has residency requirements for separating spouses. One of the two spouses—if not both—must have been a Maryland resident for at least 12 months prior to filing. In addition, unless there were “fault grounds” for divorce, both of you must have been living separately for 12 months in order to legally file.
Speaking with a divorce lawyer can help you determine whether any of these apply to your situation. “Fault grounds” refer to anything you or your spouse might have done to cause the breakup of the marriage. These may include:
- Infidelity/committing adultery
- Mental instability that leads to being committed to a mental institution
- Cruelty and vicious conduct
Types of Divorce in Maryland
Maryland allows for two different kinds of divorce. You could either seek an absolute divorce or a limited divorce. Both deal with the same areas of child custody, child support, alimony, and division of assets. However, the following differences are important to note:
- Limited divorce is similar to a legal separation, in that the divorce is not permanent. Additionally, you and your spouse cannot be remarried and must retain joint ownership of all assets.
- Absolute divorce is the same as what other states call a divorce; it is permanent. It allows that you and your spouse could be remarried, and requires division of all assets.
Determining which of these arrangements is the right fit for you can be difficult. It all depends on the unique details of your relationship. Having a divorce lawyer navigating divorce and legal separations can help you more swiftly make a decision.
About Fault and No-Fault Divorces
Anyone seeking a divorce can pursue either a fault or no-fault decree to end a marriage. Deciding between these choices can depend upon the state you live in and various circumstances require careful consideration.
At-fault divorces require plaintiffs to prove that their spouses are guilty of one or more of the following specific acts of wrongdoing in the context of the marriage.
- Adultery: This reason requires the plaintiff to prove that the other spouse is inclined to commit adultery through concrete actions or has an irrefutable opportunity to do so.
- Cruelty and endangerment: Medical records, photos of injuries, and police reports can prove that a spouse deserves a divorce for personal safety reasons.
- Desertion: Plaintiffs whose spouses walk away from their marriages for punitive or emotionally abusive reasons may receive a divorce after one year of living apart from them.
- Indignities: Verbal and emotional abuse of one spouse by another and flagrant disregard for mutual finances can create an intolerable environment that may be sufficient to grant a fault-based divorce to a plaintiff.
- Imprisonment: Plaintiffs whose spouses receive crime convictions and must serve prison sentences lasting at least two years qualify for a fault-based divorce.
- Bigamy: Spouses who can supply supportive evidence that their spouses are married to someone else qualify for a divorce based on the other spouse’s wrongdoing.
A no-fault divorce is attainable in either of two ways. One way involves the consent of both spouses who agree that they want to dissolve their marriage. They must agree to a mandatory 90-day period following the divorce complaint’s service, during which they agree to settle the terms of a marriage’s dissolution. The court may decide on property distribution, child custody and support, and spousal support if the spouses cannot do so.
Spouses who opt to divorce by mutual consent can significantly reduce their expenses because they do not need attorneys to represent them. They also receive divorce decrees faster than they would when going to court. Spouses who can agree to settle outside of court can also avoid prolonging the process, which can be emotionally challenging for themselves or their children.
The court may also grant a no-fault divorce when both spouses remain separated for at least one year, but one spouse does not agree to a divorce. The spouse who wants the divorce then has an option to pursue an at-fault divorce.
The Do’s and Don’ts: Tips for a Smoother Divorce
You said “I do” when you should have said, “I don’t”. If your marriage is falling apart, you are not alone. In the United States, nearly half of all nuptials end in divorce. Going through a separation with your spouse can be trying. There are a few do’s and don’ts that can make the divorce smoother for everyone involved.
Do Consult a Lawyer
You should consult with a divorce lawyer in Rockville, MD before your proceedings get underway. An experienced attorney like Daniel J. Wright can help guide you through the process and represent your interests. Having a professional on your side may keep you, your family, and your assets protected if the situation gets messy.
Do Be Cooperative
Divorces often involve elevated feelings of stress, anger, and resentment. While it may not be easy, you should do your best to remain cooperative with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Being amicable can be beneficial for any children involved and keep the process moving forward. However, being cooperative should not be confused with forfeiting your rights. There are also exceptions to favorable cooperation, such as cases of abuse. Your divorce lawyer in Rockville, MD can help you assess the situation.
Do Practice Self-Care
It can be easy to become caught up in the drama of divorce and let it start weighing on other aspects of your life. You need to remember to take a deep breath and practice self-care. Likely, you want to avoid negative impacts on your other relationships, career, or physical health. You should maintain as normal of a routine as possible while letting the professionals do the worrying for you. It is advisable to continue eating healthy, working out, and attending your regular activities.
Don’t Act Rashly
If tempers get heated, you should not act rashly. Take your time to determine if divorce is truly the right option or if you want to work through your marital issues. Once you decide that divorce is 100% the course of action you want to take, be cautious about what you make public. A divorce lawyer in Rockville MD may be able to provide you with guidelines.
Don’t Hold in Feelings
While it is probably ill-advised to spout negative feelings publicly during your proceedings, you may not want to hold them in. Having trustworthy individuals around to support you can be helpful. You may choose to vent to close friends and family, find a support group, or attend therapy. It’s good to move forward in a healthy way.
Don’t Date Before You’re Ready
As you move on, you may start to consider dating. A divorce lawyer in Rockville MD cannot determine when the right time is for you. However, you should exercise caution when making your decision. Not only can dating too soon affect you emotionally, but it can potentially impact your divorce proceedings.
If divorce is on your horizon, mind your do’s and don’ts. Daniel J. Wright, a
divorce lawyer in Rockville MD, may be a great choice to help you navigate the process from start to finish.
4 Ways to Solve Conflict During Divorce
During the divorce process, you may begin to notice a reoccurring pattern. You and your ex-spouse fight over small details or old problems, and soon, neither of you feel comfortable discussing important issues with one another.
Learning how to approach a disagreement in a constructive and peaceful way can help you both to have a healthier divorce.
1. Choose Your Words Carefully
When texting or talking on the phone, make sure to not bring up topics that are especially sensitive for you both. Choosing what you say and keeping your speech formal can help you avoid rehashing fights that left both parties feeling hurt.
Double-check anything you send to make sure the tone of what you write does not seem overly aggressive or annoyed. You may even need to talk with your divorce lawyer in Rockville MD, such as Daniel J. Wright, to figure out what to say.
2. Stick to the Facts
It may seem tempting to focus on what you felt or how hurt you were about something that happened during your marriage, but one way to avoid conflict is to focus only on the facts about what occurred. Do not blame or try to bring up old disagreements during talks with your ex-spouse, even with your divorce lawyer in Rockville MD present, in order to insist you were right.
One way to set the tone for future conversations is to guide the topics toward positive or constructive communication. If the relationship between you and your ex-spouse is especially tense, then this can also help diffuse some of that tension as time goes on.
3. Find a Way to Relieve Stress
One great way to come back to discussions with a clear head is to find a way in your free time to relax and renew your mind. Whether this is exercising or attending an art class, it can help you to focus on something other than your divorce. Both you and your ex-spouse may feel less like arguing after this helpful break.
4. Listen Closely
Sometimes, the best way to diffuse an argument is to be more attentive than usual to the other person’s replies. You may pick up on issues or worries you had not heard before. This can also help in talks with your divorce lawyer in Rockville MD, such as Daniel J. Wright.
Allowing your ex-spouse to fully explain his or her opinions can lead to a more peaceful exchange and more solved conflicts.
Who Gets Child Custody?
As any Rockville, Maryland, divorce lawyer will explain, child custody is a major point of contention in most divorces. A couple might agree on everything about their separation, but when it comes to children (and money) the claws come out and divorce proceedings turn ugly. And for good reason, too – being able to see your children is an important part of making sure they grow up right, and both parties in a divorce may have their own ideas about what constitutes good parenting.
When it comes to child custody, you and your spouse may end up battling over who gets visitation rights and who becomes the custodial parent. In some rare cases, you and your spouse can set your differences aside and opt for joint custody instead, but this comes with its own set of challenges and requirements. If you’re going through a divorce – or you suspect a divorce is imminent – you should be as prepared as possible. Read on to learn more.
How is Custody Determined?
Cynical readers may think that custody is determined by who has the better lawyers. While this may be true, there are certain requirements that must be met as well, and who can provide a better or more stable environment for the children in a divorce is usually determined by the court. When you contact a divorce lawyer in Rockville, MD, you’re taking an important step to ensuring your children have a good future – but what else does the court examine?
The court will look through your personal history to determine if there has been a pattern of instability or abuse that can lead back to you. If you’ve been accused of domestic abuse in the past, this can be a major strike against you and whether you gain custody or visitation rights. When going through a divorce, the court weighs all evidence against you to decide whether you get to see your children at all, and it’s up to you and your lawyers to prove you deserve a chance to raise your kids.
There are two parties in every divorce, and all too often one party gets full custody of the children while the other is stuck with visitation rights and child support payments. Child support payments are meant to be spent on the development of your children (clothes and food and school supplies, primarily) and visitation rights give you a chance to see your kids at least once or twice a week or month. But wouldn’t you rather have a greater say in how your kids are raised?
About Joint Custody
A divorce doesn’t have to be dirty. If you and your spouse can set aside your differences to focus on what’s most important, the court may agree to joint custody. In a joint custody arrangement, both parties agree to share in the responsibilities of raising their children, despite being separated. This means they cooperate to take their kids to school or medical appointments, and they share an even amount of time with their children as well.
Just like other custody arrangements, joint custody requires certain requirements to be met. The court will consider whether you and your spouse can work together for the benefit of your children, and the court will also consider whether you and your spouse even live close enough together to make joint custody work.
Divorce proceedings can make or break your relationship with your kids. Don’t leave anything to chance: Contact a divorce lawyer in Rockville, MD today, and see how the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright can help you.
Are Divorce Attorneys Necessary?
Deciding to divorce is never an easy choice. It is important to consider what is at stake should you split up with your spouse. You may need to look for another place to live. If there are children, they may have to change schools. Likewise, you need to decide who would get primary custody of the children. If you have a pet, will you keep the pet, or will your spouse? Will your spouse need financial support through alimony or palimony?
Going through a divorce can be overwhelming. Sure, you can proceed with the separation without an attorney, but hiring divorce lawyers in Rockville MD could help you avoid costly mistakes. Here are reasons why you may or may not need an attorney.
Why You Need a Divorce Attorney
Hiring an attorney can take some of the stress off you. There are copious amounts of paperwork that must be submitted to the courts by set dates. Missing a deadline could make a difference in the final ruling. If you are working full time or need to move out of the house, these two factors in and of themselves are stressful. Having to hunker down and read up on and understand matrimonial laws does not lessen the burden of other obligations in your life. Hiring divorce lawyers in Rockville MD can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
If you decide to represent yourself in court, you are expected to understand marital laws as if you were an attorney. You are not given any passes if you make a mistake or misinterpret the law, nor will the judge allow you to correct any errors. A mistake can mean loss of valuable assets, loss of custody, or impact applicable spousal support. The attorneys at Daniel J. Wright can help you correctly interpret marital laws.
An attorney can provide clarity on binding agreements before they are written in the divorce decree. Mistakes can prolong the proceedings and add to your out-of-pocket costs.
An attorney can offer you sound advice. The stress of a divorce can be an emotional ordeal. You could make decisions that can be costly in the long run. Hiring divorce lawyers in Rockville MD can help you see beyond the end of the marriage and give you guidance for what comes next.
Why You May Not Need a Divorce Attorney
You can consider not hiring an attorney if the separation is amicable. However, understanding divorce laws can be overwhelming, and it is not advisable to proceed without the guidance of an attorney. You never know how the estranged spouse will respond when the reality of a pending divorce becomes evident. Even if the two of you agree on how to divide assets, who will have primary custody of the children, who will keep the dog, or who will keep the house, emotions tend to run amok in the dissolution of a marriage.
Hiring divorce lawyers in Rockville MD can help you avoid the pitfalls of ending a marriage even if your spouse initially agrees with the terms. Contact the law office of Daniel J. Wright to get assistance.
Three Common Misconceptions About Prenuptial Agreements
Nearly 50% of all first marriages end in divorce. That number only rises with the advent of marriage number two or three. Of course, you don’t start your married life expecting to get divorced. However, it’s often advisable to have a prenuptial agreement in place should the worst case happen. Here are three misconceptions about prenuptial agreements.
Prenuptial Agreements Only Protect the Wealthier Spouse
Prenuptial agreements, also known as prenups, can protect both spouses and whatever assets they may bring into the marriage. Prenups also dictate how assets and debts will be split up in case of divorce. Without a prenuptial agreement, your divorce will be subject to the laws of the state you live in, which may not always be the best option for you. Often, it’s best all around to have a divorce lawyer in Rockville MD, write your prenuptial agreement, as he or she knows divorce law backward and forward.
You Can Include Anything You Wish in Your Prenuptial Agreement
You can’t include anything you wish in your prenup. For example, you might want to talk about the care, custody, and support of your future children in the event of a divorce. However, it’s a bad idea, and may be completely ignored if you do split up. The court will always act in the best interest of the child, regardless of what your prenuptial agreement says. You could put in your prenup that mom will have custody of the kids in the event of a divorce, but mom could develop a mental illness or become a drug addict between the writing of the prenup and the end of the marriage. Daniel J. Wright, a divorce lawyer in Rockville MD, can guide you on what all you can include in your prenuptial agreement.
You Can Wait Till the Last Minute to Sign a Prenuptial Agreement
While you technically can wait until the last minute to sign a prenup, it may be invalidated by the court if you do so. That’s because the judge could decide that one party or the other was rushed or pressured into signing a prenuptial agreement. Judges prefer that both parties have sufficient time to fully understand the terms of the prenup, and to consult with a lawyer about whether their best interests are being sufficiently protected by the prenuptial agreement. Daniel J. Wright, a divorce lawyer in Rockville MD, can help you secure your financial future in the event of a divorce.
Call Daniel J. Wright Now
When you need an attorney to help you navigate the emotionally challenging process of divorce, consider contacting a divorce lawyer Rockville, MD relies on from the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright. We can help you determine the next steps you need to take in order to reach an outcome that is right for your family. To get answers about how much a divorce lawyer costs and more, call the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright today.