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Practice Area: Divorce & Custody

 

Patriots Law Group handles every type of family law case – child custody/support, divorce, annulment, and adoption – for both civilian and military clients.  We know that the outcome of every family case affects our clients and their loved ones for many years to come and remember that family relationships are at the heart of everything we do.  Through our experience handling such emotionally charged cases, we know what you are going through and can help you navigate the uncertainty and sense of fear that results from the breakup of a family.  Read below to see specifically how we can help guide you through the extra complexities of family law cases involving military personnel.  If you decide you would like to speak with one of our attorneys, call us today for a consultation: 301-952-9000.

Military Family Law:  The stresses of military life – regular relocations, long deployments, high operations tempo – can have a tremendous impact on your family and home life.  Unfortunately, these issues will also complicate and burden your family law case because the civilian judicial system has little appreciation or understanding of military demands.  For instance, your civilian judge may view the possibility of a deployment as a disqualifying factor for you to get custody of your child unless he is properly presented with applicable law that rejects such notion.  Likewise, temporary pay and benefits such as hazard pay or family separation allowance may be inappropriately calculated into your child support obligation unless the civilian judge is educated on how these benefits are temporary and will not continue beyond your current orders.  By living through similar military experiences, we are in a unique position to explain and frame your case in a manner that civilian judges can understand and appreciate.  In contrast, a lawyer who has never made the sacrifices of military service lacks the knowledge to fully explain your life in a manner the civilian judge will understand.  Without a doubt, when your most valuable asset is at stake – your family – you need someone you can trust, you need a Patriots Law Group attorney!

Military Divorce:  If you don’t yet know, military divorce is different from civilian divorce.  Unique issues concerning the division of military pensions and entitlement benefits like BAH, BAS, COLA, commissary privileges and disability benefits must be constantly considered throughout the divorce process or important benefits could be lost.  For example, federal law forbids any court from dividing a military pension unless the court sits where the military member resides.  As a result, if you or a civilian attorney unknowingly file for divorce in the wrong state, the court may be prohibited from taking any action to divide a military pension.  To avoid this risk, you need an attorney that knows the system – both from the military’s perspective and a civilian legal system’s perspective.  Patriots Law Group has the attorney you need.

Military Child Custody, Child Support and Visitation:  The UCMJ requires military members to pay “adequate support” to their dependents (spouse and children) and therefore adverse action can be taken against a member for failing to pay child support during a military divorce proceeding.  Through our military legal experience, our attorneys know the rules and the standards commanders use to consider whether to punish a military member for failing to provide “adequate support.”  Our attorneys use this knowledge to guide members and their dependents to ensure adequate support issues are resolved without harming the military member’s career.  Additionally, our attorneys know how to use federal statutes like the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to delay child custody and support cases when military duty prohibits a member from appearing in court.  Such statutes are designed specifically to ensure a deployment or extended TDY cannot be used by a non-military person to gain an advantage in a child custody or child support case.  Call us today if you are involved in an ongoing family law case without legal representation.

General Child Custody Issues:  Most states, including Maryland, subscribe to the “best interest of the child” standard when making decisions concerning custody of a child. Often the court concludes that the best interest of the child is served by maintaining stability, so winning a custody battle requires sound planning and advice from day one.  Additionally, where you live, how you act and your personal situation will all be evaluated and compared to the other parent’s situation.  Short term decisions can have long term consequences – in your life and the life of your child – so before you make any moves, call to find out what is important to the court and what will help or hurt your custody case.

General Child Support Issues:  Most states, including Maryland, use guidelines to determine how much child support should be ordered in each case.  These rules have specific definitions of what income can be considered.  Through the discovery process – if properly conducted – each party’s actual income or potential income can be determined.  Quite often, one party will not fully disclose his/her income from side jobs (like lawn cutting services, Mary Kay, or babysitting), which can greatly distort the calculation and result in an order that is either too high or too low.  Another common issue in child support cases involves false claims about child care expenses.  Unless disproven, a custodian parent’s claim of false child care expenses may inflate the child support ordered by the court. These are just two examples of many issues that our attorneys can help you avoid.  Since the court is not in a position to base its decision on anything but the evidence that is presented at trial, you need a lawyer that knows where to look and how to impeach false statements in court.

Changing Child Support:  If your income has changed since the last court decision and your child support has become impossible to pay, you can request to have it lowered.  In order to have your child support order lowered, there must be a “material change in circumstances” since the last time the court set child support.  A “material change of circumstances” would include losing your job or experiencing a decline in your business profits.  If you have experienced a “material change in circumstances,” then call us today to see how we can help demand a reduction.

Protective Order/Domestic Assault Defense:  In connection with family law matters, it is not uncommon for one party or the other to file for a protective order alleging abuse or neglect.  Until recently, most courts required “clear and convincing” proof of the alleged abuse before it would grant a protective order, but a few years ago, several states – including Maryland – reduced the standard of proof to merely “more likely than not,” as a result, now false allegations are very difficult to disprove (particularly if no witnesses were present during the alleged incident).  Unfortunately, if the court issues a protective order, then you will be prevented from possessing a firearm.  Since most military members are required to train on a firearm (if deployable), the entry of a protective order can kill a servicemember’s career.

A Patriots Law Group attorney can help.  We have successfully defended protective order cases or found solutions to resolve such case in a manner that protects the servicemember’s career or ability to possess a firearm.  Further, we know the rules for “shielding” a protective order from public view and can work to ensure future employers cannot see an order that has expired.  Call today to learn more about how we can defend you in a protective order case.

Call today 301-952-9000

Patriots Law Group serves clients – military, dependent, retirees and civilians – throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C., including Upper Marlboro, Bowie, Prince Frederick, Dunkirk, College Park, Hyattsville, LaPlata, Fort Washington, Clinton, Prince George’s County, Calvert County, Charles County, and military installations at Joint Base Andrews, Fort George G. Meade, Surface Forces Logistics Center, Bethesda Naval Hospital, U.S. Naval Academy, Patuxent River, Bolling Air Force Base, Fort Belvoir, the Navy Yard, and the Pentagon.

DISCLAIMER:  The contents of this website are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions.  No action should be taken in reliance on the information contained on this website and Patriots Law Group and its affiliated attorneys disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this  website to the fullest extent permitted by law.  An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues.