Family Law

Why should I hire Haley-Pierson Law’s Family Law Department?

Our attorneys are experienced, dedicated, and compassionate. We have over 25 years of experience. We will protect your interests, provide good solid advice, and listen to your worries and concerns as we guide you through the process. We know that this time in your life is stressful and we will work to ease your mind.

Do you have any after-hours appointments?

Our office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. We often work after hours and are happy to accommodate reasonable requests to meet after hours or on the weekend.

In which counties do you practice?

We are licensed to practice in all counties in the State of Maryland. Monica M. Haley-Pierson practices primarily in Calvert County and Prince George’s County, we also have experience in Charles County, Anne Arundel County, St. Mary’s County, Howard County, and Montgomery County.

Do you handle all areas of family law?

Yes. These areas include divorce, annulments, pre-nuptial agreements, separation agreements, custody, visitation, grandparent and third-party visitation and custody, child support, marital property division, alimony or spousal support, post-judgment modification, post-judgment contempt and enforcement, domestic violence and protective orders, adoption and guardianship, paternity, and name changes.

What are the grounds for an absolute divorce in Maryland?

There are a number of grounds upon which you may be able to obtain an absolute divorce in Maryland. These include: adultery, desertion (actual or constructive), a one-year separation, cruelty of treatment, excessively vicious conduct, conviction of a crime, and insanity. This information is intended to be only an introduction to the grounds for absolute divorce provided for by Maryland law. If you are considering an absolute divorce, our attorneys will help you determine which grounds fit your particular facts and circumstances.

How long will it take to get a divorce once my case is filed?

Each case contains unique facts and circumstances and accordingly we cannot predict the exact amount of time the divorce process will take. Some divorces are finalized in a few months; others can take up to one year, or even longer. The length of time will vary depending on such factors as the county where the case is pending, the Court’s schedule, the issues in the case and whether any issues have been resolved by agreement of the parties, and other factors. We will be better able to provide an estimate of the length of the process when we meet with you to discuss your case.

How does the Court decide which parent gets custody?

The Court is required to determine custody based on what is in the best interests of the child(ren). The Court is guided by numerous factors in making its determination. Examples of factors include the fitness of the parents, and the
capacity of the parents to communicate and reach shared decisions affecting the child(ren)’s welfare. The Court determines both physical custody and legal custody, and both types of custody can be sole or joint. At your initial meeting with us, we will assess the facts and circumstances of your case as it relates to custody.

Does Maryland recognize grandparents’ visitation rights?

There are avenues that grandparents can pursue to seek visitation with their grandchildren. However, simply being a grandparent does not guarantee that you will get visitation rights in Court. The Court may (or may not) award visitation.
This will depend on the facts and circumstances of your particular case. We will review your situation and facts when we meet with you.

How does child support get paid?

The Court will determine the amount of child support to be paid to the custodial parent. The Court can order that payment be made directly between the parties; be paid through the Office of Child Support Enforcement; or be paid by Earnings
Withholding Order through the Office of Child Support Enforcement.

Can you assist me in enforcing a Court Order if the non-custodial parent has failed to pay me child support?

Yes, if you retain us, we can assist you in enforcing the child support order through a variety of means, including pursuing a Petition for Contempt.

Is all property acquired during our marriage going to be split 50/50?

Not necessarily. Maryland is an “equitable” (not “equal”) state. This means that the Court will make a decision on property based on what it believes to be fair after considering the facts and circumstances of your case. The Court must
consider certain factors outlined in the Family Law Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland in making its determination.

My spouse committed adultery. Will it matter in my case?

Adultery may have an impact on the grounds for divorce. Adultery may also have a bearing on property distribution, as the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties is relevant in the Court’s property determination. In very limited circumstances, adultery may have relevance to custody.

Can I seek contribution towards my attorney’s fees in Court?

Yes, you can seek contribution from the other party towards your attorney’s fees. However, seeking attorney’s fees does not guarantee that the Court will order contribution, and oftentimes the Court orders each party to pay their own individual attorney’s fees. If your request for contribution towards your attorney’s fees is denied, you remain responsible for payment of your own attorney’s fees incurred.

When I get divorced, can I keep my married name?

Yes, you may keep your married name. If you wish to be restored to your maiden name or a former legal name, you must ask the Court for this relief, and you must then obtain the approval of the Court in a court order.

Are there certain factors that the Court considers in determining whether or not to award alimony, and the amount to award?

Yes. The Court considers many factors in determining whether or not to make an award, and the duration and amount of that award. By way of illustration, some of these factors include, but are not limited to: the ability of the party seeking
alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting; the standard of living that the parties established during their marriage; the duration of the marriage; the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties; the age of each party; and other factors.

How much will my case cost?

The cost of your case will depend on the nature and circumstances of your particular situation. It is impossible to estimate fees without an initial consultation. We look forward to meeting you.

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