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Bethesda MD Family Lawyer

Bethesda MD Family Lawyer

After braving the difficulties that life tosses your way, going home to a warm and dotting family is always a blessing; however, not all families in Bethesda are alike. And not all of them are happy. Often, time may help heal the wounds of disagreements and return the family to a state of normalcy. Other times, things may blow out of proportion, and at such a time, an objective external party may get involved: the law.

When confronted with a family law tussle, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and confused. Perhaps you feel angry, threatened, or scared. Your future financial security might be in jeopardy, as might your children or your relationship with them. And, of course, nobody likes to feel this way. No one likes to be taken advantage of. You deserve better. You deserve to have clarity out of your family law chaos. Let the Bethesda family attorneys at Petrelli Previtera, LLC ease your way through the entire process.

Why Choose Us?

  • We take sides. Yours.
  • An Inc. 5000 firm.
  • Our award-winning attorneys stay focused on you, your needs, and your results throughout the handling of your family law case.
  • We go out of our way to understand you and your unique situation so we can provide a very high level of personalized legal expertise.
  • We provide answers and peace of mind during initial consultations.
  • We have an office located at your convenience in Bethesda, Maryland.
  • Through top-notch customer service, we strive to create positive overall experiences even during lengthy or tedious family law cases.
  • Each lawyer in our prestigious law firm is an aggressive litigator and fierce negotiator. For us, every family law case is a chance to help our clients get the possible outcome, and our vastly-talented, all-around attorneys strive to make that happen.
  • We have earned plenty of positive online reviews across Birdeye,, and more. Our track record speaks for itself.

When you want to protect yourself, your family, and your future in Bethesda, MD, we are the family law attorneys to call. Contact our office today at (866) 465-5395 or schedule an online consultation with one of our team members via Zoom. Let us start working together toward a resolution right away!

Putting Your Needs First

At Petrelli Previtera, LLC, we believe that exceptional legal representation involves delivering the best possible results and putting our client’s needs first. To that effect, we are dedicated to providing high-caliber legal aid while reducing client anxiety and emotional stress during the entire process. You and your children’s well-being, health, and security are our utmost concerns.

While keeping an eye on litigation expenses, we aim to provide the best legal strategy—the winning strategy—without overstretching these costs. When settlement is an option—as is often the case—we are effective negotiators, often obtaining generous settlements for our clients without stepping foot in the courtroom. However, when settlement is unfavorable or impossible, our attorneys are experienced and skilled enough to fight for your interests.

Ultimately, we endeavor to create the best legal strategy tailored to each case while avoiding strategies that would put you or your loved ones in a disadvantaged position. Our Bethesda family attorneys are prepared, responsive, and goal-oriented from start to finish.

We represent our clients in every aspect of family law, including:

  • Divorce: Our skilled lawyers will fight aggressively on your behalf in all areas of divorce, including child support, spousal support, child custody, and property division. We also handle a wide array of divorce cases with special considerations, including divorce with difficult personalities, active military, federal employees, business owners, and complex assets.
  • Child support: We are fully conversant with the Maryland family law regarding child support. Whether you receive or pay support, we will work hard to protect your rights.
  • Child custody: Whether you are going through a legal separation and have child custody concerns or are looking to modify a family court order, we can help. Let our tried-and-tested family law attorneys protect your and your children’s interests.
  • Property division: We can help you and your spouse divide assets fairly among yourselves. If you’re yet to tie the knot, our capable family attorneys can help craft a prenuptial agreement that outlines your interests, obligations, and rights in case of the unfortunate event of separation. And if you have already exchanged the ‘to love and to cherish, for better for worse’ vows, we can help draft an amicable postnuptial agreement.
  • Spousal support/Alimony: If there’s one aspect of family law that requires superb negotiation skills, it is alimony. Our Bethesda attorneys will do everything they can to guide you to a positive resolution. And if you think your partner is undeserving of any alimony payments, we will help defend you against them.

Our award-winning Bethesda family lawyers can also give you sound legal advice and representation in other key areas, including:

  • High net-worth divorce
  • Estate planning
  • Grandparents’ rights
  • Unmarried couples
  • Fathers’ rights
  • Visitation
  • Marital abuse
  • Complaints about contempt
  • Among others!

We understand just how emotionally taxing family law can be. That’s why it’s important to have a law firm on your side to help navigate the legal maze while you deal with the emotional side of this considerable change in your life. We are that law firm. Call Petrelli Previtera, LLC today for personalized, high-quality, client-focused family law representation in Bethesda, MD!

Bethesda Family Laws: A Quick Insight

Like in any other state, family law in Maryland is a combination of statutes and other legal authorities specific to the rights, finances, and duties that encompass a family. At Petrelli Previtera, LLC, we understand that family is your life.

Our compassionate and knowledgeable Bethesda family attorneys have been successfully helping clients navigate the complexities of Maryland family law for decades now. You don’t have to do this alone.

1. Divorce Laws

According to code section Fam. Law §7-101-103 of the Maryland Divorce Laws, at least one spouse must be a resident of Maryland for a divorce petition to be accepted. If the grounds for divorce occurred outside the jurisdiction of the state, then at least one of you must have resided in Bethesda for no less than six months before filing for divorce. The typical grounds for divorce include incurable insanity, cruelty, desertion, and adultery.

It’s also important to note that Maryland recognizes “no-fault” divorce. In a no-fault divorce, you don’t have to prove or allege any particular wrongdoing in order to be granted a divorce. All you have to do is demonstrate to the court that you and your partner have been separated voluntarily for 12 months or involuntarily for two years.

2. Child Custody Laws

In Maryland, there are no definite rules on who will automatically get custody of the kids. The law here doesn’t favor either the father or mother. Like in many other states, the rule of thumb when ascertaining custody is what is “in the best interest of the child.”

Essentially, there are two types of custody in Maryland: physical custody and legal custody.

You and your spouse can jointly hold physical custody, or one partner might be awarded full physical custody of the child. Legal custody is when one of you gets to make the major life decisions for a minor, including religious affiliation, major medical treatments, and education.

3. Child Support Laws

Both parents have a legal obligation to fend for their children, even if the two of them are legally separated or divorced. Under Family Law Articles §12-101 et Esq, child support is calculated based on the combined adjusted income of both parents. Even if you have no job, the law requires you to pay child support payments based on potential income.

4. Spousal Support Laws

Alimony in Maryland can only be awarded before the final ending of the marriage. Failure to claim spousal support as part of divorce means you cannot show up later after the marriage has ended and started a spousal support claim.

That said, there is no defined formula to calculate alimony in Maryland. Courts have broad discretion and will weigh up all possible factors to ensure a just award. If you and your spouse would like to take charge of the duration, amount, and type of alimony, you can negotiate the terms during a settlement meeting, and the judge/magistrate will approve it if he/she deems it fair.

5. Asset Division

Maryland is not a “community property” state. Rather, Maryland has an equitable distribution” guideline—meaning the court is not bound by law to divide the assets equally between partners but will divide them in a way that is fair to both of you.

Whether you need help with property division, alimony, child support, child custody, divorce, or any other contentious family issue, our Bethesda family attorneys are just a phone call away! Allow us to bring clarity out of your chaos.

Bethesda, MD, Family Law Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What does “service“ mean?

Service means putting a divorce complaint in the hands of your partner. This can be done by a process server, via mail, or a relative or friend. You personally cannot be the one to hand over the divorce papers to your partner. Once served, your spouse has no more than 30 days to file a counterclaim or response (unless he/she is served outside Maryland, in which case he/she has 60 days to counter or respond).

2. Is it true that Bethesda local courts would prefer not to hear your divorce case?

Yes. The court would rather have parties in a divorce attempt to solve the case themselves. Family law tussles are, for obvious reasons, the most time-consuming to litigate and most difficult to solve. Nearly all courts in Bethesda have come up with requirements that prompt spouses to get involved and set their own divorce rules.In most cases, you and your spouse, alongside your respective lawyers, will attend some meeting or conference with a third party (usually a mediator or arbitrator) to try and work out issues regarding alimony and division of assets.

3. How do the courts in Bethesda determine a parent’s visitation access?

If you are the physical noncustodial parent, the court will award you limitless visitation access, as long as you don’t interrupt the kid’s daily activities. If you and your partner have been using an access plan that has been working great, the courts will take that plan and adopt it as an order. Ultimately, the court is free to make any visitation determination. So long as it’s in the kid’s best interest.

4. Let’s say I don’t live with the kids full-time. Do the same child support guidelines apply?

If the kids spend more than 35% of the overnights per year with the other parent, you will be granted less child support. This is because the other parents will pay child support based on the shared child support guidelines under Maryland law. However, each parent should pay their allotted share of the child’s other expenses like clothing, recreation, etc.

5. When would a lifestyle change harm or threaten a child?

Every situation is unique, and what a magistrate/judge may consider a lifestyle change depends on his or her point of view. However, in situations where a custodial parent starts to work late into the night, leaving the kid all alone, the other parent might have reasonable grounds to request a custody change. Similarly, when the noncustodial parent turns out to be a heavy drinker, the custodial parent may request a change of the visitation order allowing the kid to only be visited when the noncustodial parent is sober.

6. My son’s dad is very rich, but I’m not at all. I want to obtain child support payments for my minor child, who has lived with me for the better part of his life. How much support am I entitled to receive?

You are entitled to receive support payments that equal the standards of living that your son would have enjoyed had you and his dad remained married.

7. How do I get a protective order against an abusive partner?

If you’ve been threatened, physically harmed, or stalked by an ex, family member, member of your household, co-parent, or boyfriend/girlfriend, Maryland domestic violence law allows you to get a protective order from the local district court. A protective order can restrain the supposed abuser from contacting you in any way.To obtain a temporary proactive order, you must fill up a Petition for Proactive Order (CC-DC-DV-001) and fill it with the Circuit Court or District Court during official working hours.

8. When does a parent’s legal duty to pay for child support end?

Child support ends when the child ceases to be minor (at 18 years), unless the child is still in high school. If that is the case, you will have to provide child support until the child graduates high school, but no later than the child’s 19th birthday.

Get Family Law Support From An Award-Winning Firm

Family law cases can be complex, costly, and emotionally draining without the right legal representation by your side. At Petrelli Previtera, LLC, our team is committed to providing family-oriented, top-of-the-line, and responsive legal aid in every family law matter we take on. Whether it’s a high net-worth divorce or a high-stake child custody issue, we tackle every case with the same level of attention, dexterity, and expertise.

More importantly, we’re not just any other Maryland law firm that makes up the numbers. Our lawyers pride themselves in being a little more casual, a little more approachable, and a little more prestigious than the average Bethesda family attorney. We are real people with real solutions to your real family problems, and the multiple countrywide recognition we have garnered over the years proves it.

As an honoree of the prestigious Inc.5000 list, our firm makes your family our top priority. Let us help you and your children transition to a better place of character, confidence, and peace of mind. Get in touch with us today at (866) 465-5395, and we promise not to disappoint.

Are You Looking For Answers? We’ve Got Them!

As one of the highest-rated law firms in the larger Maryland area, our pledge remains true: to give our clients high-quality, well-thought-out answers whenever they need them. We know that when you have answers, you can make informed, intelligent decisions about your and your children’s stability, well-being, and safety.

We invite you to take the first step toward protecting your family by scheduling an initial consultation with one of our team members today. Why gamble with your future when you can secure it today? Let our Bethesda attorneys be the missing piece in your family law puzzle. It all starts with a call!

Client Testimonials

Here's what our clients have to say about working with us. Please note, results may vary based on individual circumstances.

Melinda Previtera, Esq. came highly recommended to our family. Her knowledge base, professionalism, and compassion paved the way for a successful outcome. Melinda is efficient, detailed, and informative. She helps manage expectations, and postures her client for a fair and equitable result. We are happy to recommend Melinda!

Jennifer A.

My experience was very good. Everyone was professional and attentive to my needs, keeping me updated every step of the way. I couldn’t ask for a better result, highly recommended.

David R.

My marriage life has been a hell for me for the past four years until I decided to put an end to what has to be ended. Choosing a lawyer was another additional stressful part of the long process. I’m so glad that I’ve found the right one for me at Petrelli Previtera. Life isn’t always fair, but at least having her in my corner, felt even better. I couldn’t recommend her highly enough!

Caitlin B.