Family Law Attorneys Westminster, MD
What is family law? Although its name would imply a rather simplistic definition, family law is anything but simplistic. Family law includes divorce, custody, child support, visitation, and alimony, but it also includes domestic violence, adoption, guardianships, and adult protective services. Family law issues can adversely affect your life, your property ownership, your pension entitlements, and in some cases, your driving privileges and personal freedoms.
There is no other area of the law as emotionally charged as family law. Family law cases can be expensive and can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars. In fact, it is common for a hotly contested family law case to reach the $50,000 range, assuming there are no appeals, which will significantly increase that number. A contested family law case can cause people to deplete their savings, retirement accounts, and available credit. The cost for the attorneys is just one of the expenses. Experts are often needed in order to evaluate property, pensions, and businesses; perform vocational, medical, and psychological assessments; conduct home studies; and provide investigative services. In some cases, attorneys are appointed for the children. These costs are in addition to the party’s own attorney fees. Most people, however, cannot afford the costs associated with a hotly contested family law case and wisely choose to mediate their case or settle the issues among themselves utilizing the services of an attorney or mediator to draft a separation and property settlement agreement.
Family law cases require an experienced family law practitioner who is current in the law; who is familiar with the Maryland child support guidelines; and who has practiced before the different judges and magistrates enough to know their individual propensities. Do not hire an attorney just because a friend or family member recommended them. You need to meet the attorney and make sure that he or she understands your goals, your objectives, and your limitations. You want an attorney who will honestly assess your expectations, even if the assessment is not necessarily what you were hoping to hear. Honesty and trust must prevail in every attorney/client relationship. Remember, the more time the attorney spends chasing your unrealistic expectations, the more money it will cost you. The attorney has everything to gain by fighting your losing battle. An ethical and practical attorney will tell you when you should stop fighting. It is extremely rare to find a party to a family law action who got everything they wanted.
The laws are not written to prefer one party or gender over another. Family law decisions are based on principles of equity, which in its simplest form means fairness. There is no gender preference in custody and alimony cases under Maryland law. More importantly, the courts rarely deny a parent access to his or her child unless that parent poses a genuine risk of harm to the child, and even then, supervised visitation is likely.
Each family law case is decided on its specific facts. No two cases are alike. Do not listen to your friends’ and relatives’ opinions about how your case should be decided or settled. That is your attorney’s job. Do not hire an attorney based on their perceived reputations. The so-called “pit bull” may wind up biting you in the end, particularly when you get their bill. Always remember that the more work your attorney does, the higher your bill will be. Remember, the attorney works for you. It is your case, your money, and your life.
At the Law & Mediation Offices of Kirk Seaman, LLC, our attorneys are experienced in family law and mediation matters. In fact, Mr. Seaman has been a court-appointed mediator (also referred to as a “settlement officer” and formerly referred to as a “settlement master”) since 1995. When you retain our services, our pledge to you is that we will resolve your family law matter as quickly and as inexpensively as possible. In family law cases, there is only one certainty: going to court (litigation) is expensive, time consuming, disruptive to the entire family, and unpredictable. Judges often make decisions based on what they feel is best for your family. Those decisions, however, may not always fit into your own concept of what you believe is in your family’s best interest. Mediating your case allows you to maintain control over your family’s future.
If you have a family law matter or are interested in mediation, call us today at 410-876-6000. Although we charge for the initial office visit, that fee – whatever it is – is credited back to you when we are retained. In other words, the initial consultation is free if you elect to retain us.
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