Divorce Lawyer Bethesda, MD

Strickler, Platnick & Hatfield represents clients in Bethesda and throughout Montgomery County, Maryland. Our Bethesda divorce lawyers concentrate on family law matters that include divorce, child custody, and more. We understand the importance of having a lawyer who understands both your legal needs and your local courts.

Filing for Divorce in Maryland

Bethesda residents file for divorce in the Montgomery County, MD Circuit Court. Divorce and other family law matters are overseen by the Family Division. To offer continuity in these matters, each family law case is assigned to a Case Manager and a Magistrate or Judge, depending on the nature of the case.

Divorce cases may involve multiple issues, all of which need to be resolved before a divorce can be granted. For instance, a divorce case not only dissolves a marriage, but divides the couple’s assets and debts in a process called “equitable distribution.” The median household income in Bethesda is more than double the national average, and high-net-worth divorces with complex issues are not uncommon.

Of course, many divorces also involve minor children, which means that the divorcing couple must also resolve disputes regarding child custody (decision-making and access) and child support. In addition, it is possible that one spouse will need financial support from the other, both while the divorce is pending (alimony pendente lite) and after it is final.

Depending on your family circumstances, there may be significant strategies involved in deciding how to file for divorce. An experienced Bethesda divorce lawyer can help you explore your options and choose a divorce process best calculated to meet your needs.

Divorce Options

An absolute divorce resolves all disputed issues and ends the marriage. The option of limited divorce, which was similar to a legal separation, is no longer available in Maryland after 2023 legislation updated the state's divorce laws.

Your Bethesda divorce lawyer will also discuss with you the grounds upon which your divorce filing should be based. “Grounds for divorce” are legally acceptable reasons for a court to grant a divorce. In Maryland, there used to be grounds for divorce based on fault, such as adultery, desertion or cruelty. The same legislation that abolished limited divorce also eliminated fault-based grounds for divorce in Maryland. You may file for a “no-fault” divorce if you have lived separate and apart from your spouse for six months (even within the same household). In addition, a “mutual consent divorce” is a type of no-fault divorce available to spouses who have resolved all disputed issues in their divorce prior to filing. Recent legislation also added another no-fault divorce option: divorce based on irreconcilable differences.

Your unique circumstances will dictate which grounds for divorce you should cite. Discuss your situation with a divorce lawyer in Bethesda, MD for advice tailored to your needs.

Bethesda Family Lawyer for Divorce Dispute Resolution

If you would prefer to pursue a mutual consent divorce but have some issues remaining to resolve, you may decide to go to mediation with your spouse to try to reach an agreement before filing for divorce. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which a neutral third party facilitates discussion. Mediation may also be used to resolve disputed issues after a divorce is filed.

Litigation is the process of filing for divorce and resolving disputed issues through the courts. Even in litigated cases, most divorces settle before a trial becomes necessary. However, in some cases, it is necessary to have the structure of a trial to reach a just resolution in your divorce or other family law matter.

The Bethesda divorce lawyers of Strickler, Platnick & Hatfield regularly represent clients in mediation and other ADR processes. Some of our attorneys are also trained mediators who help couples identify and resolve issues in their divorce or custody matters. However, our attorneys are all seasoned trial attorneys who are known for their litigation strategy and courtroom skill.

Choosing a Bethesda Divorce Lawyer

Your family law matter will have a profound impact on your life, and your children’s lives, for years to come. It is important to choose an attorney who understands Maryland family law and the issues in your divorce and with whom you feel comfortable. It is also crucial that your attorney be familiar with the local courts in which your case may be decided.

The Bethesda divorce lawyers of Strickler, Platnick & Hatfield have represented many clients in the area, and have practiced extensively in the Montgomery County, MD courts. We will help you identify the best divorce processes for you and guide you capably through the resolution of your family law matter.

To learn more about divorce and family law in Bethesda, MD, contact Strickler, Platnick & Hatfield to schedule a consultation.