Columbia Family Lawyer

Columbia Family Lawyer

Columbia Family Attorney

Family law is complex and encompasses many different types of legal cases. It focuses on issues that involve family relationships and involves both cases that occur in a courtroom and cases that can be handled through negotiations. The types of cases that fall under this category of law are:

One commonality between all these cases is the difficulty of navigating the legal system while also dealing with any related emotions and trauma. Even if the case is full of happy emotions, like with adoption, ensuring the process is done right is not easy. The best course of action in any family law case is to find an attorney who can help you resolve your case.

Columbia Family Law

Three statistics offer insight into how much the legal environment has changed since the 1980s. First, most children do not live in “traditional” households. Perhaps one or both parents has been married before, they live with stepsiblings, or a single parent is the head of household. Second, the number of single father/children households has increased dramatically. This change indicates that more Howard County judges have completely done away with the “tender years” doctrine which always gave mothers superior child custody rights. Finally, the number of divorces for people over 50 has tripled since 1990. These marriage dissolutions involve highly-complex property division issues.

At the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, PA, our Columbia family lawyers have witnessed these changes firsthand. We understand how the current legal, economic, and emotional environment affects your family. We do more than react to changing trends. We proactively work with them to help ensure the best possible outcome under the circumstances.

Marriage Dissolution in Columbia MD

The marriage rate has fallen in recent years, but the reconstituted family is still a main component in society. So, divorce is the most common family law procedure. Legal separation is an option in some cases. These couples remain legally married but live apart. A legal separation provides an alternative to divorce if the parties are not ready for a divorce or are opposed to it for religious, moral, or financial reasons. But in most cases, divorce fully resolves all issues, including:

  • Status Change: Some divorces involve adultery, cruel treatment, abandonment, or other fault. But most Howard County divorces involve insupportability. No-fault divorce reduces the drama in these proceedings and shifts the focus to other issues.
  • DSOs: Domestic Support Obligations include things like child support and spousal support. Generally, child support determinations are objective proceedings which set amounts based on income, number of children, and some other factors. Spousal support actions, on the other hand, are much more subjective.
  • Property Division: Maryland is an equitable distribution state. “Equitable” is not necessarily the same thing as “equal.” But for practical purposes, most judges require substantial evidence before they split marital property and debts on anything other than a 50-50 basis.
  • Parenting Time Distribution: The every-other-weekend/every-other-holiday model still works in some cases. But such an arrangement may not give children consistent and meaningful time with each parent. So, a somewhat more even division may be more appropriate.

Only subsequent remarriage can reverse the status determination. But the other three may be modified based on changed circumstances.

Division of Parental Responsibilities in Howard County

As mentioned, most children do not live with two parents who are both on their first marriage and their pure biological children. Some situations include:

  • Adoption: Maryland law is very specific in terms of things like waivers of parental rights and the amount of financial support an adopting family may give a birth mother. Strict adherence to these rules is the best way to prevent a future, emotionally wrenching legal showdown.
  • Unmarried Parents: A piece of paper does not change the fact that these families face the same struggles that married couples face. So, a court often needs to intervene, especially with regard to parenting time disputes.
  • Grandparents Rights: After a 2000 Supreme Court decision, most states, including Maryland, sharply limited grandparents’ rights to legally spend time with their grandchildren. However, some solutions are still available for these families.

Except for status issues, most of these decisions may be legally modified later based on a substantial change in relevant circumstances.

Finding a Good Columbia Family Law Attorney

Family law matters are extremely personal and important, so the choice of attorney should not be taken lightly. Luckily, there are qualities that you can look for in attorneys to help guide your choice and ensure that it is not left to chance.

  • Experience: Family law encompasses a wide range of legal areas, including divorce, adoption, child custody, etc. The attorney that you choose should have experience in all areas that you need for your case. For example, if you are divorcing your spouse and you share children, the lawyer that you choose should not only have experience in divorce but also in child custody. Although experience in family law is important, you should also choose an attorney who has experience in the court where your case will be heard. It can be invaluable for your attorney to have knowledge of the judges and relevant processes in your specific court. An experienced attorney can help you get a fair settlement and ensure the case has the best possible results for any children involved.
  • Objectivity: Long gone are the days where the assumption was that the mother was automatically the best parent to have primary child custody or that the woman should receive most of the assets in the event of a divorce. The court now recognizes that proceedings should be equitable and in the best interests of the children, if any are present. The attorney that you choose should recognize this new way of thinking and therefore avoid the pitfalls of older ideas. An objective lawyer will also be able to look at your case and effectively advise you on the best course of action for your case.
  • Communication Skills: Excellent communication skills are a must when considering a lawyer. Not only will your lawyer need to communicate well with you to understand your goals and desired outcomes in your case, but they will also need to communicate with opposing counsel and the presiding judge. This trait is important when discussing difficult situations and working toward conflict resolution, especially when some areas of the law are difficult for the average American to understand. A good lawyer will be able to find the difficult balance between detachment and empathy to craft creative solutions for any issues that arise in your case.
  • Hourly Rate: Private attorneys need to be compensated for their time, and choosing an attorney within your budget is an important consideration. Many lawyers will require a down payment, or “retainer,” to start working on your case. The retainer amount, as well as the attorney’s hourly rate, will depend on the complexity and type of your case. After the retainer is paid, the attorney will take their payment from the retainer and bill you as they work. Depending on the total cost to resolve your case, you might need to replenish the escrow account.

The attorneys and support staff at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, PA, were carefully chosen to have all these important qualities, in addition to other strong qualities like professionalism, legal knowledge, and efficiency.

Is a Maryland Family Lawyer Necessary?

In some family law cases, it is possible to find the forms online and file them yourself without the assistance of an attorney. You can technically see these cases through without consulting with an attorney, and you may be tempted to save on the costs of one. However, there are severe drawbacks to handling your family law case in this manner.

The court does not have a vested interest in ensuring your case is handled carefully and thoroughly. The court system will hear many cases each day and will not have much tolerance for forms that are filled out incorrectly or are not filed on time. Even a checkmark in the wrong place can delay the process, making your situation drag out longer than it needs to.

A lawyer can also provide an outside perspective, not emotionally affected by the case. Their logical mind can provide creative solutions to any issues that may arise because they have degrees of separation that help them be objective about the case. Furthermore, attorneys have years of experience working within the legal system, and there are many that will have experience in your type of case. Although it is likely the first time you have dealt with an adoption, divorce, or other family law issue, it will not be an attorney’s first time. Their knowledge and experience can make your case run more smoothly and ultimately resolve faster and more favorably.

Their advice and guidance can especially help with reducing your fears and anxiety while the case is progressing. There are many unknowns as you navigate the legal system. Hiring a competent family law attorney can help shed light on those unknowns before they become an issue.

Rely On an Experienced Columbia Family Lawyer

Modern family law covers a number of diverse issues and circumstances. Each type of case will have its own nuances and issues that must be addressed for a favorable outcome. With over 20 years of experience in many different areas of law, our team is ready to assist you through your family law case. The wide range of legal experience in our full-service law firm can help ensure that we have familiarity with and solutions for whatever issues your case may bring. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Columbia, contact the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, PA. We routinely handle matters in Howard County and nearby jurisdictions.


Anne Arundel County

Empire Towers
7310 Ritchie Highway, Suite 910
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

Phone: 410-766-0113

Fax: 410-766-0270

Howard County On the grounds of Columbia Mall

30 Corporate Center
10440 Little Patuxent Parkway,
Suite 900
Columbia, MD 21044

Phone: 410-964-0050

Baltimore County (Arbutus/Catonsville)

Phone: 410-719-7377

Fax: 410-766-0270