Hadrian N. Hatfield's Profile Image

View Family Law Attorney Biography in FrenchAttorney Hadrian N. Hatfield concentrates his practice exclusively in the area of family law, including family law litigation, divorce mediation, and international divorce and custody issues. Hadrian knew since an early age that he wanted to be an attorney, and particularly that he wanted to practice international law. After earning his law degree at Vanderbilt University, Hadrian pursued Master’s level international law studies at the Faculté de Droit de Nice in France. Upon his return to the United States, he worked at the U.S. State Department for five years on a range of international law issues.

After transitioning into private practice in the early 1990s, Hadrian was encouraged to pursue family law; he has spent the three decades since helping families find resolutions to even the most complex family law issues. While much of his practice centers around domestic family law, Hadrian often works with clients locally and overseas on international family law matters such as:

  • International prenuptial agreements
  • Simultaneous divorce litigation in two countries
  • Marital assets located in a foreign country
  • International custody, visitation, and child support issues
  • International relocation of a parent
  • International parental child abduction
  • Expert witness services

Hadrian believes in offering all clients a path to resolution that is best suited to achieving their unique goals. Accordingly, in addition to litigation, he helps clients resolve family law disputes in a dignified and respectful manner through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options such as Collaborative divorce and mediation. Hadrian Hatfield has served as both a private and court-appointed family law mediator for over twenty years. In addition to his law practice, Hadrian also teaches “Financial Foundations for Family Lawyers” as an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Hadrian represents clients who want creative, informed and thoughtful solutions to complex family law problems. His extensive experience ranges from cases with high stakes and strong emotions to interstate and international situations. Clients appreciate that, in the midst of the emotional fog that can permeate family law matters, Hadrian has a unique ability to keep them level-headed and focused on their objectives. An international businessman described his experience with Hadrian Hatfield this way:

“Instead of serving as a weaponized legal instrument of my darkness, Hadrian spent a good amount of our time together helping me to be my own higher self. When I pushed him to be ‘more aggressive’, to humiliate my ex, to overwhelm her with chaos, Hadrian held steady, risking a fairly healthy financial engagement, to litigate my matter with honor. He advocated the high road, conveyed a balanced and reasonable position throughout, and still waged a conscious and virtuous war.”

Practice Areas
  • Family Law
  • International Family Law
  • Divorce
  • Litigation
  • Appeals
  • Faculté de Droit de Nice, 1983-1984
  • Vanderbilt School of Law, J.D., 1983
  • University of Central Arkansas, B.A. cum laude, 1980
Admissions to Practice
  • Maryland
  • United States District Court for the District of Columbia
  • District of Columbia
  • United States Supreme Court
Honors and Recognitions
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent peer rating for highest level of professional excellence
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America
  • Selected as one of the Family Law Super Lawyers in Maryland and Washington, D.C. (2007-2021)
  • Selected for Washingtonian Magazine’s “Washington’s Top Lawyers” list (2004, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017)
  • Washington D.C.’s “Best Lawyers, A Comprehensive Guide to the Area’s Top Attorneys,” featured in the Washington Post Magazine (2008-2015)
Professional Memberships and Affiliations
  • American Bar Association, Family Law Section; International Law Section; Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
  • Maryland State Bar Association, Family and Juvenile Law Section Council
  • Montgomery County Association, Family Law Section, Former Co-Chair
  • Montgomery County Divorce Roundtable, Past President
  • Montgomery County Collaborative Divorce Association, founding member
  • District of Columbia Bar, Family Law Section
  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML)
  • International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL)
Representative Work

Divorce Litigation in Two Countries at the Same Time

  • Successful negotiation of divorce with complex jurisdiction, implementation, and enforcement provisions for French business owner with U.S. operations.
  • Creative use of U.S. divorce process to solve problems preventing resolution of long-standing foreign divorce negotiations for international business executive.
  • Challenge of court jurisdiction on financial issues in divorce based on argument French business owner husband never was domiciled in U.S.
  • Negotiation of financial settlement agreement for international banker after wife returned to live in Brazil
  • Negotiation with U.S. and French counsel of settlement involving division of assets in U.S. and France, including rental apartment in Paris
  • Successful divorce of Taiwanese businessman unable to obtain divorce in home country
  • Collaborative divorce representation of French husband in case involving divorce, alimony, property, and child custody and support laws of U.S., France, and UK, including coordination of advice from foreign lawyers
  • Advising diplomats and their spouses on choice of country in which to divorce between U.S. and Australia; U.S. and France; U.S. and Canada; U.S.

Foreign-located Marital Assets

  • Successful trial argument resulting in alimony award to compensate for marital share of husband’s foreign pension located outside reach of U.S. court
  • Mediation of divorce for couple with real property interests in Ethiopia
  • Successful negotiation of divorce with property division between Iranian nationals living in U.S. who owned commercial assets still in Iran
  • Multiple cases involving division of International Organization pension benefits

International Alimony and Child Support Issues

  • Advising U.S. citizen payor on tax consequences and risks of alimony paid to non-U.S. resident spouse
  • Negotiation of child support paid in France for children of international organization executive and consulting company owner spouse living in both U.S. and France
  • Advice on modifiability of foreign alimony and child support orders after relocation of spouses to U.S.
  • Advising U.S. citizens on consequences and options for addressing child support proceedings started against them in foreign courts

Custody and Visitation Rights in International Relocation or Parental Child Abduction Situations

  • Successful mediation of Hague Convention case involving return of minor children to parent in Japan.
  • Trial preparation and successful negotiation of custody rights and ne exeat order for USC father of child born in South America of foreign mother
  • Trial preparation and successful negotiation of extended access rights to child living in U.S. for expatriate USC mother
  • Trial preparation and successful settlement of custody issues following return to Maryland of child who former spouse had abducted to a Hague Convention country
  • Representation of father in obtaining custody rights to children abducted to District of Columbia from African country
  • Mediation of settlement terms for return of child, future parenting schedule and decision-making rules in Hague Convention cases
  • Trial representation of Brazilian television personality seeking to relocate with children to Brazil for work reasons

 Expert Witness Services

  • Expert witness in case where client sought to prevent travel of ex-spouse with children to China
  • Expert witness testimony on Maryland custody laws in Quebec Province court hearing
  • Multiple cases advised or collaborated with co-counsel on risks and dangers related to potential abduction or wrongful retention of children, and on protective measures and wording for court orders

International Prenuptial Agreements

  • Negotiation of a prenuptial agreement with international applicability for a Turkish heiress and her American groom
  • Successful defense of a prenuptial agreement in divorce trial between Canadian husband and African country wife
  • Frequent advising of clients on the enforceability of civil code country matrimonial property regime marriage contracts in U.S. divorce proceedings
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