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Family Law

Bel Air Family Lawyers Provide Exceptional Guidance

Skilled Maryland attorneys assist clients with matrimonial and parenting cases

Though many people are uncomfortable handling family issues in court, effective legal counsel is often necessary to protect you and the people you love most. At Stark and Keenan, P.A. in Bel Air, we are experienced Maryland attorneys who handle divorces, custody disputes, child support issues, adoptions and other domestic concerns. With more than two centuries of combined legal practice, we have a deep understanding of the laws governing matrimonial and parenting matters as well as the stress that accompanies family law challenges. Whether your situation seems simple or involves serious conflict, we’ll provide the professional guidance and support that you deserve.

Effective advocates represent Harford County spouses in divorce proceedings

Under Maryland law, the termination of a marriage is referred to as an absolute divorce. This is distinguished from a limited divorce, where parties no longer live together but remain wed, similar to what is called legal separation in some states. Whatever path you choose, our attorneys provide knowledgeable counsel to help you make important choices about:

  • Process — You can seek a divorce on no-fault grounds if you and your spouse have lived apart for at least 12 months or mutually agree to end the marriage. If you’re considering a fault-based divorce based on marital misconduct such as adultery or desertion, we outline how that case might proceed and if it could affect alimony and custody determinations.
  • Mediation — A qualified family law mediator can give parties to a divorce the perspective they need to settle disputes over financial and parenting arrangements. Avoiding protracted litigation usually saves time and money while maintaining privacy and promoting communication.
  • Property division — Dividing marital assets and debts often triggers sharp conflicts among divorcing spouses. Maryland’s equitable distribution law does not guarantee that each party will walk away with equal shares of the marital estate, so it’s critical to retain a lawyer who can make a compelling case as to what’s fair.
  • Child custody — In Maryland, the court reaches a child custody agreement based on what it deems to be in the best interests of the child. We ensure your child’s interests are represented properly to help the court reach an effective solution. If necessary, we go to court and fight for appropriate terms addressing legal authority, residence and visitation scheduling.

To alleviate our clients’ financial burdens, we maintain cost-effective rates and work to obtain a Judgment of Absolute Divorce without unnecessary delay. When relevant terms are uncontested, the process might take as little as 30 to 90 days. No matter what timeframe is required to achieve a favorable result, we’ll deliver strong advocacy every step of the way.

What if a parent doesn’t pay child support in Maryland?

Regardless of their marital situation or any disagreements over custody, both parents are legally bound to support their child financially. A noncustodial parent who doesn’t abide by a child support order could have their wages withheld, their driver’s license suspended or even face a contempt charge. The state’s formula for determining support amounts considers each parent’s income and certain expenses when setting a rate. Our firm assists clients in these matters to help ensure accurate information is used and also handles enforcement cases as well as modification actions when a significant change occurs.

Dedicated legal counselors assist with all types of alimony concerns

Our accomplished attorneys counsel clients on the likelihood, duration, amount and modification of alimony payments. Three general types of post-divorce spousal support exist within the state:

  • Indefinite alimony — If someone seeking payments is unable to earn sufficient income due to disability, old age, illness or a special needs child who must be cared for, periodic payments can be ordered without a specific end date.
  • Lump-sum alimony — Some couples choose to end their financial ties with one lump-sum settlement. Before you do so, it’s important to recognize what the eventual award might be if you bring your matter before a judge.
  • Rehabilitative alimony — Spousal support is usually awarded as a way for a stay-at-home wife or husband to meet their financial needs while establishing or regaining their earning ability.

Numerous factors can be evaluated during an alimony decision, but many decisions center on the length of the marriage, each spouse’s earning ability and the couple’s standard of living. We perform a thorough investigation to find any relevant information to use during negotiations or in court.

Contact a dedicated Bel Air family lawyer for a consultation

Stark and Keenan, P.A. represents Maryland clients in divorces, custody disputes and other family law matters in the greater Baltimore metro area. To make an appointment for a meeting at our Bel Air or Baltimore office, please call or contact us online.

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Office
  • Bel Air Office
    30 Office Street
    Bel Air, Maryland 21014
    Phone: 410-879-2222
    Fax: 410-879-0688
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