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Divorce and Family Law Attorney in Germantown, Maryland, and Surrounding Areas

Divorce is a sensitive matter, and the mere thought of it sends down considerable chills of fear and anxiety. Unfortunately, every once in a while, after trying all alternatives to salvage a marriage— including long discussions with friends and family, therapy, and counseling— the last resort is divorce.

It is tempting to underestimate the time, finances, and mental and emotional energy involved in divorce proceedings. Yet, in reality, divorce is extremely stressful not only for the parents but also for the affected children.

Over and above divorce, any legal matter involving family relationships requires wise decision-making based on sound, informed, and experienced counsel. If you are facing the possibility of a divorce, assets division, child custody, or other family-related disputes, consider working with a knowledgeable, competent, and experienced divorce and family attorney to help you navigate.

Petrelli Previtera, LLC: Your Listening, Caring Divorce Attorney, Serving Germantown, Midland and Surrounding Areas

At Petrelli Previtera, LLC, we are Germantown’s, MD, leading divorce and family law attorneys. We understand how difficult divorce and family legal disputes can be, so we offer client-focused legal services that aim to make divorce (and other disputes) as simple and efficient as possible while guaranteeing you the peace of mind you need to move on with life.

Our firm serves clients in communities throughout the greater Germantown area, including Bethesda, Chevy Chase, and surrounding areas. Feel free to schedule a consultation today and let us offer you support, clarity, and direction throughout the divorce or related disputes.

We have both in-person consultations and video consultations for your convenience. Contact us today at (866) 465-5395 or schedule a consultation online and make the first step towards the stability of your family.

Legal Matters Related to Family Law

Family law encompasses a wide range of complex matters that must be handled professionally and tactfully. Take a look at the following areas of family law that our attorneys in Germantown can help you with.

1. Divorce

Divorce is when one or both of you wants to call off the marriage, and you need the intervention of the court in resolving issues like asset division, child custody, spousal support, and so on. If you file for divorce here in Germantown, you will have to wait for 60 days (or 90 if you have children) from the date of filing the application for the divorce to be finalized.

The final divorce decree includes the dissolution of the marriage, procedures for dividing marital property, debt repayment, alimony, and change of names where applicable. If you have children, the final orders will also specify provisions on child custody, parenting time, child support, and a permanent parenting plan.

If you don’t have children, the divorce process is fairly simple. On the other hand, if you need assistance with the parenting plan, dividing assets, child support order, or you have not agreed on the divorce 100%, working with a family law attorney can help you save money and time while safeguarding your best interests.

Grounds of Divorce in Germantown, Maryland, and Surrounding areas

Effective Oct 1, 2023, there were significant changes in the Maryland divorce law. Key among the changes was repealing the entire section of the law that provided for limited divorce. There were also changes to the grounds for absolute divorce in Maryland.

Before the new law, you could file for divorce on the following grounds:

  • Desertion
  • Adultery
  • Insanity
  • Vicious conduct or cruel treatment towards your spouse or a minor
  • Conviction of an offense leading to imprisonment;
  • 12-months separation

The above grounds have since been repealed and replaced by the following:

  1. Six months’ separation if both of you have lived separately and apart for six continuous months before filing for the divorce
  2. Irreconcilable differences
  3. Legal incapacity of your partner to make decisions
  4. Mutual consent

Although the original grounds for absolute divorce have been repealed, the court may still consider those factors when it comes to deciding on child custody, alimony, and other divorce-related issues.

2. Child Custody and Child Support

Who gets the custody of your children? This is one of the most difficult questions to answer during a divorce or separation. Often, people mistakenly believe that the mother is favored to win custody. On the contrary, the law in Germantown, MD, is neutral and doesn’t favor either parent.

When determining a child’s custody, the court makes a decision based on the child’s best interests. Proving what is in the child’s best interest can be quite complex, and you may want to work with a family law attorney with experience in child custody disputes.

If you are seeking primary custody of your child or modifying an existing arrangement, our divorce and family law attorneys in Germantown can assist you in creating a parenting plan that serves your children’s best interests.

3. Alimony 

This is a payment made from one partner to another on a regular basis for a specified duration, ranging from a few years to indefinitely. Maryland’s alimony law is spelled out in Title 11 of the Family Law Article in the Annotated Code of Maryland. The primary purpose of this law is to provide financial assistance to a former partner.

The law considers married people to be financially responsible for one another, and either you or your partner can be required to pay alimony, depending on the circumstance. The law also provides that the right to claim alimony expires when the divorce is finalized.

There are three types of alimony which include:

  • Rehabilitative Alimony: This is the most popular type of alimony awarded in Germantown, Maryland and surrounding areas. Typically, it is for a limited duration and is tied to a hard goal, such as finishing school or career development training. It is meant to offer financial support to a divorced partner until they become self-supporting. The average time allowance is 3-10 years.
  • Indefinite Alimony: Although rare, alimony may be awarded without a specific end date. This is usually awarded in cases where one of you is unable, for reasons of age, disability, or illness, to make progress towards financial stability and independence. This alimony may also be offered where the standard of living between you and your partner is vastly different. It terminates upon the death or remarriage of the receiving partner.
  • Alimony Pendente Lite: this is a temporary alimony in that is awarded for the period of the divorce hearing. It is meant to help your partner carry on with their normal lives uninterrupted before the finalization of the divorce case.

If you need to claim, change, modify, extend, or terminate alimony, talk to our divorce and family law attorneys in Germantown, and we will be glad to assist.

4. Property Division

Maryland is an equitable distribution state. In other words, the court assesses and determines how to equally distribute your property— but this doesn’t translate to splitting the property down the middle.

To determine an equitable way to divide the property, the courts in Germantown, evaluate how much each of you contributed to the marriage. This includes financial contributions and other aspects such as household chores, and taking care of the children.

Additionally, the courts also check into negative factors such as marital debts from credit cards and mortgages and any personal misconduct either of you may have committed that led to the divorce.

Generally, the Germantown, MD, courts will consider the following factors when deciding property division.

  • Length of the marriage
  • Health, physical/mental, and age of each spouse
  • Alimony
  • Monetary and non-monetary contributions to the family’s well-being
  • When and how each property was acquired

If you are seeking a fair division of marital assets and debts, our divorce attorneys in Germantown, MD, can draw on extensive experience in family law and litigation to protect your financial interests while ensuring the just distribution of your marital property.

5. Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements essentially serve the same purpose. The main difference is the time at which they are created and enacted.

A prenuptial agreement is created before you get married, while a postnuptial agreement is created when you are already married.

The primary reason for these agreements is for clarity as far as finances and property are concerned. These agreements prevent potential arguments, conflicts, and expensive litigation over property if divorce occurs. Other reasons for prenuptial and postnuptial agreements include:

  • Protection from spouse’s debt
  • Impending inheritance
  • Interests in business
  • Impending inheritance

Talk to our family law attorneys in Germantown to help you draft and review these agreements to safeguard your interests.

6. Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders

Usually, domestic violence matters are highly emotional, high conflict, and particularly complex as they often intersect with issues related to divorce, custody, use and possession of family property, and restraining orders.

In Germantown, MD, domestic violence is a criminal case, and the state charges the defendant with either First Degree Assault or Second Degree Assault. Most domestic violence cases go to trial, while other parties reach a resolution in lieu of trial.

At Petrelli Previtera, LLC we have a special interest in domestic violence, primarily focusing on achieving the best possible result for you. We understand the unique dimensions that accompany domestic violence matters, and we are eager to represent you in all areas of domestic violence cases, including protective order hearings.

7. Adoption

Adoption is an excellent way to add another child into your life, or better still, make a child who is dear to you part of your family by law. However, most people are discouraged from adoption after hearing the struggles that other people have undergone while trying to adopt a child.

Adoption laws are quite complex so as to protect the interests of all involved parties, including the child, the birth parents, and yourself. An experienced adoption attorney can guide you through the adoption process, ensuring you meet all the legal requirements, including for interstate and international adoptions.

Finding the Right Divorce and Family Law Attorney in Germantown, MD

First off, ensure the attorney you are calling upon to represent you practices family law. Simply because a lawyer is good in estate planning doesn’t mean they will excel in your divorce case.

Also, find out what former clients have to say about their services. If they excelled in similar cases, chances are, they will succeed with your case as well.

Lastly, speak with them directly and ask questions to see if they are a good fit. Scheduling a consultation is a good way to judge an attorney’s communication, demeanor, experience, and style.

Divorce and Family Law Attorneys Serving the Greater Germantown, MD and Surrounding Areas

At Petrelli Previtera, LLC, we have decades of experience with a variety of family legal issues and have a good understanding of the Maryland State laws. We have built a superior reputation through vigorously defending our client’s interests. Our commitment to our clients have positioned us as one of the leading divorce and family law attorneys in the greater Germantown, MD, and the surrounding areas.

However complex your situation may be, our approach is to listen to your story and create a legal strategy that honors your priorities and seeks to obtain the best possible resolution for you and your family. Feel free to Contact our Germantown divorce attorneys today at (866) 465-5395 to schedule a consultation about your case, and we will gladly assist.

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.

Serving Clients at the Following Locations

Philadelphia1845 Walnut Street 19th Floor Philadelphia, PA 19103(215) 523-6900view details
Montgomery County516 DeKalb Street Suite C Norristown, PA 19401(610) 924-2870view details
Doylestown123 N Broad Street, Doylestown, PA 18901(267) 938-4480view details
Abington1147 Easton Road, Abington PA 19001(610) 890-4833view details
West Chester203 W. Chestnut St., Suite 204
West Chester, PA. 19380
(610) 431-4012view details
Princeton475 Wall St, Suite 214, Princeton, NJ 08540 Meeting Location: By Appointment Only (609) 917 9560 view details
Linwood210 New Road #15 Linwood, NJ 08221 Meeting Location: By Appointment Only (609) 375-0351 view details
Parsippany8 Campus Dr, Parsippany, NJ 07054 Meeting Location: By Appointment Only (973) 310-5320 view details
Covington1148 Washington St SW, Covington, GA 30014(678) 730-6310view details
Bethesda4800 Hampden Lane, Suite 200 Bethesda MD 20814(301) 234-7409view details
Maryland5425 Wisconsin Ave Chevy Chase, MD 20815(301) 889-8085view details
ChicagoTwo Prudential Plaza 180 North Stetson Suite 3500 Chicago, IL 60601(312) 252-2085view details
Schaumburg1750 E. Golf Rd, Suite 382 Schaumburg, IL 60173(630) 491-9670view details
Texas500 W 2nd St Suite 1900 Austin, TX 78701(512) 883-1684view details
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Denver7900 E. Union Ave. Suite 1100, Denver, CO 80237(720) 821-6440view details