What should I expect from an initial consultation with Suzanne Ryan Law?

The individual or firm that you retain for your family law matter should be one that you are comfortable working with for months, or even years. Different attorneys have different approaches, and it is important for you to determine which approach is the best for you. During an initial consultation, we will discuss the facts of your case as well as the various resolution options. The initial consultation is also a time for me to share my experience and outline my preferred approaches in law and mediation.

How is child support in Maryland calculated?

In most cases, the Maryland Child Support Guidelines are used to determine the amount of child support paid from one parent to the other. The amount to be paid is based on the combined income of both parents. If a parent is unemployed, support may be calculated based on a determination of potential income. In addition to income, the guidelines take into consideration the number of children, any amount being paid for other children, alimony paid or received, work-related child care expenses, the cost of a child’s health insurance coverage, medical and education expenses. The Maryland Child Support Administration provides a child support guideline calculator that can estimate the amount of child support.

What types of issues are covered in prenuptial or postnuptial agreements?

Examples of issues that may be included in prenuptial or postnuptial agreements include: disposition of the marital home and other real property; disposition of personal property upon separation, divorce, or death; disposition of retirement, pensions, and financial accounts; disposition of inheritance received by a spouse; amount and duration of alimony; health insurance; division of debts; tax issues; custody/access (only in postnuptial agreements); and child support (only in postnuptial agreements).

What is limited scope representation?

Limited scope representation, or unbundled legal services, is a way for people to obtain help from a lawyer without paying for the cost of full representation. Under limited scope representation, an attorney can perform certain tasks for a client without taking on the full responsibility for the case. Maryland court rules permit attorneys to enter limited appearances. Examples of limited scope representation include ongoing consultations, coaching for court appearances, and review of and/or preparation of paperwork for a case.

What is shared (or joint) physical custody?

Shared physical custody does not have a specific definition in Maryland. It can be used to describe any custodial time division arrangement (eg., where one parent has 90% of the custodial time and the other has 10%; where both parents divide custodial time equally; or any other combination of divided custodial time). However, for the purpose of calculating child support, shared custody means that each parent has at least 25% (92 overnights/year) custodial time with the children.

How long does it take to get divorced?

It depends. If you and your spouse have reached a resolution and have a signed agreement, you can obtain a divorce based on mutual consent. Many factors determine the length of the divorce process, including the county in which you are getting divorced, the resolution process chosen, whether the parties settle the case prior to a trial, as well as the complexity of the case.