The attorneys at Bodie are familiar with the complicated process of seeking and obtaining domestic adoptions. We have advised the biological parents as well as parents who are consenting to the adoption on the various steps and complicated rights that are involved in the process.
There are no established alimony guidelines that are analogous to the child support guidelines in Maryland. Thus, alimony is a complex family law issue for attorneys and the Court alike. Bodie attorneys are experienced with preparing the best case possible to represent our client’s position on alimony, whether the client is the potential payer or payee, including the preparation of the appropriate financial statement and the use of experts who may be necessary to establish and project the income of either party.
In Maryland, a child support award always begins with the Maryland Child Support Guidelines, which have been recently revised by the legislature. Bodie attorneys are well versed in the applicable law regarding the establishment, modification and enforcement of a child support award.
Collaborative Practice is a client focused, interdisciplinary process that is used to reach a resolution in a divorce. It is an alternative to litigation that differs from mediation, because in a collaborative divorce, a team of professionals is gathered to assist the parties in achieving a peaceful divorce. The preferred team model includes an attorney for each party, a divorce coach for each party and a financial neutral. Additional team members may include child specialists and experts, depending upon the unique set of circumstances presented. The core elements of Collaborative Practice are to negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without having courts decide issues, to maintain open communication and information sharing, and to create shared solutions. Collaborative Practice requires that the parties and their respective attorneys commit to working together toward the goal of reaching an efficient, fair, comprehensive settlement of all issues without litigating. All negotiations take place in meetings that both parties and both lawyers attend, along with the financial neutral. With the exception of filing a complaint for an uncontested divorce to obtain the Judgment of Absolute Divorce after settlement is reached, the lawyers are prohibited from filing suit and cannot threaten to take the case to court. Settlement is the only agenda. If either party decides to terminate the process and file suit, both collaborative lawyers are disqualified from participating in the ensuing litigation. Each client still receives legal advice and guidance during the collaborative process, and in fact, legal advice is an integral part of the process, but all decisions are made by the clients. The lawyers generally prepare and process all papers required for the divorce once a settlement is reached. The option of Collaborative Practice can be discussed with your attorney at Bodie as a possible alternative to litigation.
Nothing is more important to our clients than the custody of their children. Bodie attorneys are experienced in all aspects of custody issues and have represented mothers, fathers, and third parties, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings in reaching a custody resolution that is in the best interest of the children.
The attorneys at Bodie are acutely aware of the devastating emotional and financial impact that divorce has on our clients. Although each divorce case is different, we offer advice on all aspects of a divorce, including custody, support, marital property valuation and division, etc. Bodie attorneys are familiar with the experts who may be involved in preparing or settling a divorce case regarding the areas of mental health, business valuation, vocational rehabilitation, property valuation, etc.
Marital Settlement Agreements
Whether a client has been married for a short period of time or for several decades, whether the marriage has resulted in the acquisition of no property or substantial property, the attorneys at Bodie strive to reach a resolution on all issues that can be contained within a Marital Settlement Agreement. At Bodie, the family law attorneys have experience in negotiating and drafting settlement agreements. Sometimes those agreements are reviewed as the result of mediation sessions that the parties have attended on their own and sometimes those agreements are the result of intense negotiations between attorneys that have paralleled contentious litigation. Since no two family law cases look the same, no two settlement agreements look the same. The clients of our firm can expect the Bodie attorneys to work towards a settlement agreement that fits their particular needs and expectations based upon their own unique family.
Although family law litigation can often be contentious, mediation is a non-adversarial option that can be utilized by parties facing any issue that requires a resolution, whether those parties are divorced, divorcing or were never married but have child custody or visitation issues. The attorneys at Bodie have a strong commitment to alternative dispute resolution in family law cases. As such, Bodie attorneys are experienced in participating in the mediation process to help facilitate a settlement.
In family law cases, custody and child support are always subject to Court modification, so long as the moving party can show a material change in circumstances that affects the welfare of the child or children in question has occurred. In some cases, alimony is modifiable as well. Bodie’s family law attorneys have represented parties seeking or defending against a court ordered modification of an existing order.
For parties who seek to determine the division of assets prior to entering into a marriage, Bodie offers advice regarding prenuptial agreements. Some of our clients seek to protect pre-marital assets and some seek to protect assets for children of a previous relationship. Whatever their motivation, Bodie’s family law attorneys can help to draft a prenuptial agreement that addresses the unique needs or concerns of each individual client.
Protective and Peace Orders
Unfortunately, many cases involve domestic violence and result in one party seeking a protective order or a peace order. The family law attorneys at Bodie are experienced in representing both petitioners and respondents in final protective order and final peace order hearings. In addition, Bodie attorneys have appealed the entry or denial of final orders and represented clients at the resulting de novo hearings.
Bodie represents children who range in age from infant to teenager and has argued on their behalf at trial.
To discuss your family law matters, please contact the Firm.