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P.O. Box 1057    •    Upper Marlboro, MD    •    20773

Domestic Relations

Criminal Law & Traffic Services

The firm's principal, Scott L. Little, has handled a vast number of domestic matters including, but not limited to, divorces, child custody disputes, domestic violence, name change, Marital Property and Separation Agreements and child support since 1997. We understand that family matters can cause an extreme financial and emotional hardship on all parties involved. As such, our goal from the outset in all family related matters is to vigorously seek our clients' objectives as expeditiously as possible in order to minimize the financial and emotional impact of litigation. We understand that domestic relations is very complex area of law inasmuch as the lawyer is entrusted with and must assess many of the intimate details of the parties relationship while developing a legal strategy for pursuing the clients goals and objective. In light of this it is not only important that we advocate for our clients but that we assist them in dealing with the emotional aspects of separation and divorce and its impact on children. Further, a comprehensive understanding of pensions, retirement plans, and marital assets is an important critical component in litigating and settling domestic matters. In this regard we engage accountants, appraisers, real estate agents, and other business professionals to assist of resolving domestic issues. Given the complexity, expense of domestic matter Scott L. Little's goal is to ensure his clients can leave their marriages with the dignity and the financial means necessary to start anew.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the legal definition of marriage?

In Maryland marriage is defined as a civil contract between a man and a woman to become husband and wife. The standard way to marry is to get a marriage license from a state-authorized official and participate in a formal civil or religious wedding ceremony. Most states will not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, however the laws regarding same-sex marriage continue to evolve.

What are the legal effects of marriage?

There are many legal benefits to married couples. Some include the right to file joint income tax returns, create a family limited partnership (FLP) under federal tax laws, create a marital life estate trust, receive survivor benefits, receive a share of your deceased spouse's estate under intestate succession laws and claim the estate tax marital deduction.

What is a legal divorce?

A divorce is the legal termination of the marriage contract. From a legal standpoint, divorce will give each person the right to marry someone else, divide the couple's assets and debts, and determine the care and custody of their children.

What is a no-fault divorce?

In a no-fault divorce both parties agree that there is no fault involved in the grounds for divorce. In fact, in no-fault divorce, any misconduct is irrelevant to the divorce proceedings, and a marriage can be terminated simply because the couples agree that the marriage is no longer salvageable. In Maryland the parties may not live in the same home and under the same roof for 1 year before filing for divorce if the basis for the divorce is voluntary separation. Traditionally, divorce was granted on the basis of some marital misconduct such as adultery or physical abuse and the spouse who engaged in the misconduct was punished by receiving a smaller share of the marital property or by being denied custody of his or her children.

What is a fault-based divorce?

A fault-based divorce is one in which one party blames the other for the failure of the marriage by citing a legal wrong. Grounds for a fault-based in Maryland divorce include adultery, cruelty of treatment of a party or minor child, and desertion As a matter of law the legal effect of getting a fault based divorce is that the spouse who engaged in the misconduct will receive a smaller share of the marital property.

When parents can't reach an agreement on custody, what standards do courts use to decide with whom the children should live?

When parents cannot reach an agreement regarding child custody, the court will decide custody based upon an analysis of what arrangement is in the best interests of the child. The best interests determination is usually reached by reviewing the parents' wishes, the mental and physical health of the parents, any history of domestic abuse, the child's age and attachment to the parent who has been the primary caretaker, and the child's wishes.

What impact should a child's age have on custody and visitation scheduling?

Development experts generally agree that children of different ages have different needs regarding visitation scheduling. Experts generally recommend a visitation schedule based on a child's age, which may need adjustment for parents with either outstanding or limited parenting skills. When parents enter into a shared parenting arrangement, a different schedule may be used.

Can I terminate visitation if I am not being paid the support I am owed?

No. In Maryland the right to visitation is never conditional on payment of child support.

How is child support determined?

In Maryland child support guidelines are used as the foundation for determining the amount of child support. Courts setting child support orders will generally follow the amount suggested by the guidelines unless a reason to depart from them exists. The guidelines consider the gross monthly income of the parties, health insurance, extraordinary medical, educational and work related day care expenses amongst other things.

Can I get child support if I never married my child's other parent?

Yes. Both of a child's biological parents owe that child a duty of financial support notwithstanding marriage. If you are a mother and your child's paternity has never been established, you may need to initiate a paternity proceeding and establish paternity before a support order can be entered.