Bethesda Family Law Attorney
Addressing family-related legal matters presents unique challenges regardless of the circumstances involved. Whether you are preparing to get married, preparing for a divorce or dealing with any other family-related issue, you need to make the right decisions, and it is most likely in everyone’s best interests to arrive at an amicable resolution. To do this, you will need an experienced Bethesda family law attorney on your side.
Attorney Brandon Bernstein has been exclusively representing spouses, partners, parents and other individuals in family law matters for more than a decade. He has helped clients in all types of challenging circumstances, and he is intimately familiar with the dynamics involved in tense family situations. If you are ready to move on, Brandon can assist you, and your first step is to schedule a free initial consultation.
Why Choose Us for Family Law Services
Family Law Cases Involve Complex Issues
Family law cases can present issues that are more complex than those raised in other areas of practice. This is due to several reasons. First, domestic relations cases tend to raise a broader number of issues. An example can include a divorce in which the Judge must decide matters related to spousal support, property division, child custody, child support, and more, all in the same case. Second, family law issues are often less black and white than matters raised in other legal areas. In a criminal case, for example, the defendant is either “guilty” or “not guilty.” In a domestic matter, however, the decisions which the Court must reach can have a wider range of outcomes. These are just some of the ways in which family law is highly complex. Our focus on family law provides us with the experience necessary to deal with the complex issues that arise in such matters.
We also understand that complex issues in the courtroom can lead to complex issues at home. Because of this, extensive litigation is not always in the best interests of the parties or any children involved. BRANDON BERNSTEIN has had extensive training in serving as a family law mediator and regularly conducts mediations so that families may reach an out-of-court solution. By reducing the time, expense, and stress involved in litigation, the complexities involved in a family law matter can be lessened.
We Understand the Importance of Making Informed Decisions
The need to make informed decisions is crucial in any area of law. This need, however, is amplified in a family law case due to the fact that domestic relations matters are ongoing. Examples of this include child custody cases where, even after the Court makes an initial decision, the parents will often continue to go to Court for many years. Other examples of family law’s ongoing nature include matters involving spousal support, where the ex-spouses may find themselves regularly going to Court over issues involving non-payment, requests for adjustments, etc. Making a poor decision at the outset of a case can, therefore, mean that one will be in a bad position for many years while the case continues to remain in the system. This is different from other areas of law where the conclusion of a case generally means that the litigation ends.
Making a poor decision today can have future consequences, which include losing time with your child, serving jail time for being in contempt of a Court’s Orders, or being obligated to make support payments that you cannot afford. Our firm understands that the decisions you make today in a family law matter will continue to impact you for years to come. We offer advice that takes your future considerations into account while ensuring that your rights are protected in the present. We also take steps to ensure that all of our clients are aware of the long-term implications of any decisions which they make today.
We Understand the Process Involved in a Family Law Case
The process of handling a family law case includes many stages. Each of these stages can have a substantial impact on how you live your life from day to day. Shortly after a matter is initiated, it will be necessary to obtain Orders for temporary relief from the Court. These Orders can include rulings regarding temporary child custody, support, determinations as to who should live in the marital residence, whether spousal support should be paid on a temporary basis, etc. These orders allow your life to have a sense of structure as the case proceeds through the process.
Another stage in the process involves the conducting of discovery. This is the mechanism by which information is gained from the other side for the purposes of litigation. It is vital that any necessary evidence be obtained, or else one may have difficulty proving their case at trial. The type of discovery which should be conducted will vary from case to case. If a child custody case involves allegations of alcoholism, for example, then obtaining bank records can help to show a pattern of spending money at bars. If a parent’s health problems make it difficult for them to care for a child, then it may be necessary to obtain their medical records. These are just a few ways in which the process is used to obtain necessary evidence. Discovery can take many months and can involve multiple disputes as to what should be exchanged between the parties.
If a case does not settle, the matter will proceed to trial. This is where a final determination will be made if the case does not otherwise settle. The presiding judge will enforce the rules of evidence and procedure. If these rules are not followed, then the Court may not be able to consider evidence that is vital to your case. Also, failing to ensure that the other side is following evidentiary standards can result in the Court considering evidence which it otherwise should not have.
Our firm understands the family law process from beginning to end. We are well aware of the fact that a misstep at the beginning of your case can impact the ultimate conclusion. We will make sure that your interests are protected throughout the process, and, importantly, we will make sure you know what to expect as that process moves forward.
Bethesda Family Law Attorney: Our Experience
Our firm brings extensive experience to the handling of any family law matter. Brandon Bernstien has been practicing law since 2010. He has taken numerous cases to trial and understands the interconnection of issues in a domestic relations case. Importantly, he prides himself on providing quality service and staying in communication with his clients. These are just some of the reasons why Brandon has been recognized by Super Lawyers every year since 2014. While some family law attorneys only handle a narrow area of cases, such as one-time court hearings, Brandon regularly handles cases from beginning to end. We are proud of the level of experience that our firm brings to the table, and we are honored to serve the local community.
We Practice Family Law Exclusively
Family law is not just one part of our overall practice — it is our entire practice. We are intimately familiar with the complexities of Maryland family law. Because we practice family law exclusively, we stay on top of the LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE LAW and are on the cutting edge of family law jurisprudence. We also practice family law exclusively and extensively in the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
We Handle Legal Matters Across the Entire D.C. Area
Family law matters often cross state lines, which may present issues if your attorney is not licensed to practice in a particular jurisdiction. Brandon Bernstein is licensed to practice law in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, as well as in the federal U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Our office is also centrally located in downtown Bethesda, Maryland, allowing our clients easy access wherever they come from.
Our Family Law Services in Bethesda: Your Trusted Bethesda Family Law Attorney
Our Bethesda family lawyers represent individuals in all types of family law matters. If you live or work in Bethesda, or if you are dealing with a family-related legal issue in the Bethesda area, we can help you make informed decisions and protect your best interests in matters involving:
When going through a separation or dissolution of marriage with children, establishing your child custody rights is a major part of the process. We can help you develop a parenting plan that meets your needs while also serving your children’s best interests. We represent parents in post-separation and post-divorce child custody enforcement and modification matters as well.
Under Maryland law, both parents have an obligation to financially support their children following a separation or divorce. While most parents can use Maryland’s Child Support Guidelines to calculate child support, special considerations apply in some cases. In addition to assisting parents with child support during their divorces and separations, we also provide assistance with child support enforcement and modification in Bethesda.
A significant portion of our practice is devoted to representing spouses involved in a divorce. Bethesda family law attorney Brandon Bernstein has significant experience in both contested and uncontested divorces, and he has helped divorcing spouses protect their interests in an extremely broad range of circumstances. We provide full-service legal representation for our divorce clients, helping them make informed decisions and efficiently resolve disputes pertaining to:
- Alimony – Neither spouse is guaranteed alimony in a divorce. However, alimony awards are warranted in many cases, and it is important for both spouses to carefully consider all relevant factors when calculating both the amount and duration of alimony.
- Child–Related Matters – Divorcing parents must work together to develop a mutually-agreeable parenting plan; and, if they cannot agree, they must ask the court to determine their respective legal and physical custody rights for them. In divorces involving children, calculating child support is a necessary part of the process as well.
- Property Distribution – In Maryland, divorcing spouses must divide their marital assets equitably. While this might mean negotiating a 50-50 split, an unequal distribution can also be considered equitable in many circumstances. We help our clients determine what is equitable given the circumstances of their divorce, and then we work with our clients to help them protect the assets they care about most.
- Divorce & Family Law Mediation – When divorcing spouses are unable to come to terms regarding alimony, child-related matters, or property distribution, divorce mediation or family law mediation provides a path forward. A mediator does not render a binding decision, but instead offers insights and recommendations to help the parties find a way forward.
- High Asset Divorce – High asset divorces present a number of unique financial considerations. Bethesda family law attorney Brandon Bernstein has represented many high-net-worth individuals during their divorces, and he can use his experience to help protect your income and assets in your divorce.
Entering into a prenuptial agreement serves many important purposes beyond “planning for divorce.” Prenuptial agreements make sense for lots of couples for lots of different reasons, and a well-drafted agreement will protect both parties’ interests in a variety of different areas. If you are interested in a prenuptial agreement, or if your fiancé has asked you to sign a prenup, attorney Brandon Bernstein can help you prepare a sound, comprehensive and enforceable agreement that serves as a strong foundation for your marriage.
If you or your child is a victim of domestic violence, obtaining a protective order can put an immediate stop to the abuse. In Maryland, a “protective order” is the official term for what is commonly called a “restraining order” in other states. There are emergency procedures available, and Bethesda family law attorney Brandon Bernstein can seek a protective order on your behalf immediately if necessary.
Brandon also represents spouses, partners and parents who need to defend against efforts to obtain a protective order against them. Unfortunately, while many allegations of domestic violence are legitimate, false accusations are also common, and they can have immediate and devastating consequences for those who are wrongfully accused.
To file for a no-fault divorce in Maryland, spouses must live apart for at least 12 months. This is a long time, and it is not uncommon for issues to arise. To avoid these issues, divorcing spouses can enter into a separation agreement. A separation agreement can address financial support, child custody rights, property rights, and other family and financial matters; and, in addition to providing stability and certainty prior to a couple’s divorce, entering into a separation agreement can set the stage for efficient and amicable divorce settlement negotiations as well.
Maryland Family Law FAQs
Below are answers to some of the common family law questions that we receive at our firm. If you or a family member are in need of assistance, our team is here to help you. Reach out to us online or by telephone at 240.395.1418 to speak with a Bethesda family law attorney. We look forward to speaking with you.
What Areas of Family Law Do You Specialize In?
Our firm handles a wide range of matters related to domestic relations law. These include:
- Divorce (contested and uncontested)
- Child custody
- Issues related to child support
- Issues related to protective orders
We handle all aspects of cases related to these issues. Such aspects may include the division of marital property, relocating a child out of state, and more.
How Can a Bethesda Family Law Lawyer Help Me Through Divorce?
One of the first steps our Bethesda family law attorney will take is to obtain temporary orders from the Court. This will put a structure in place regarding child custody, spousal support, possession of a marital residence, etc. Having this structure in place will allow you to have a sense of stability as the matter moves forward. As the case proceeds, issues can be raised with your attorney and not with your soon-to-be ex. In other words, counsel will focus on your legal situation while you focus on the future. Also, counsel will give you honest advice as to what you should expect so that your case does not needlessly drag out.
What Steps Are Involved in Child Custody and Visitation Cases?
The first step in a child custody case is typically a hearing to determine how custody, visitation, and child support will be handled while the case proceeds through the system. The parties will typically attend a mediation to determine if a settlement can be reached. If a settlement cannot be reached, then discovery will be conducted so that needed evidence can be acquired for trial. The case will conclude with the Judge’s decision after trial.
How Do You Approach Property Division During a Divorce?
Maryland is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that all assets and debts acquired during the marriage, must be divided in a way that is equitable; the division need not necessarily be equal. The first step is to determine whether assets or debts were acquired during the marriage. Our Bethesda family law attorney will then apply Maryland’s equitable distribution factors and will argue for an outcome that is fair for our client.
What Options are Available for Resolving Disputes Outside of Court?
Very few cases go through the trial process. Most matters are concluded through a settlement. A settlement can be the result of the attorneys for each side negotiating back and forth. It can also be the result of the parties attending a mediation. Brandon Bernstein can serve as a private mediator for parties who wish to resolve their matter without protracted litigation.
Can a Bethesda Family Law Attorney Assist with Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements?
Our Bethesda family law lawyer is able to assist with both prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements. The former is an agreement that is reached as to how issues such as property division and support will be handled upon a divorce before the parties enter into marriage. The latter is a similar agreement, but it is signed after the parties are married. Such agreements can give the parties peace of mind that may otherwise be lacking. Also, such agreements can be helpful if one spouse has an issue with debt collection or if one spouse is a member of a business that requires its principals to have an agreement.
What Factors Are Considered for Spousal Support (Alimony) Calculations?
Maryland is a state that favors “rehabilitative” alimony as opposed to support, which goes on indefinitely. Solomon v. Solomon, 857 A.2d 1109 (2004). Rehabilitative support is meant to assist a spouse while they are getting back on their feet. Factors the Court will consider when issuing an award include, but are not limited to:
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living that the parties enjoyed during the marriage
- The contributions (financial and non-financial) that each party made to the marriage
- The financial position that each party will be in when the divorce is completed
- The age and physical health of each party
- The reasons for the divorce.
Any award of spousal support will be based on the specific facts of the case, and no two situations are the same. It is strongly suggested that you speak with a lawyer to discuss how the Court may rule in regard to support.
How Do You Protect My Children’s Best Interests During Legal Proceedings?
An initial step in a child custody case is to obtain temporary orders from the Court. This will put a structure in place in regard to custody, visitation, and support. If the other party violates the temporary order, they may be held in contempt of court. If an emergency arises while the case is pending, it is possible to gain an expedited hearing in front of the judge and to request that the other parent’s visitation be supervised. How to best handle any situation will always depend on the specific facts of the case.
What Are the Key Considerations for Adoption and Guardianship Cases?
A court’s sole concern in any case will be for the best interest of the child. The wishes or desires of a parent are not the Court’s concern. When determining whether an individual should be granted guardianship over a child or if the individual should be permitted to adopt them, the Court will consider factors such as:
- The prior relationship between the potential caregiver and the child
- The wishes of the child (depending on their age and maturity)
- The needs of the child and the individual’s ability to meet those needs
- The physical and mental well-being of the potential caregiver
When determining whether an individual may care for the child, the Court will look to objective evidence. The Judge may disregard claims that have no basis in documented fact.
How Can I Get Started With a Consultation to Discuss My Family Law Matter?
To schedule an initial consultation, please contact us online or by telephone at 240.395.1418. We are devoted to the handling of domestic relations law, and our Bethesda family law attorney will give your case the attention it deserves.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with a Bethesda Family Law Attorney
Regardless of your specific needs—or even if you aren’t exactly sure what you need—you should speak with a Bethesda family lawyer if you have any questions or concerns about any family-related legal matter. To schedule a free initial consultation with Bethesda family law attorney Brandon Bernstein, call us at 240-395-1418 or tell us how we can reach you online today. We look forward to assisting you in any way we can.