Family Law

Family Law
At the Law Office of C. Harris Schlecker, we provide candid and practical counsel to people considering divorce, addressing issues including support, child visitation, marital property distribution and other relevant considerations.

There is very little that can be more distressing than when your family is experiencing domestic difficulties. A dispute with your spouse over your children and/ or your property can become a bad situation. Our goal is to represent your interests without making the situation any worse than it already is. We will meet with you and discuss the law and the process you can expect to go through. We also will tell you that it is almost always best for you and your family if a resolution can be reached without going to trial. If this is not possible however, we stand ready to represent you and protect your interests all the way through a trial.


What’s the difference between “Absolute Divorce” and “Limited Divorce?”
An absolute divorce dissolves the marriage and usually resolves all related issues. After an absolute divorce is finalized, the parties may remarry.

A limited divorce is a legal action that permits the court to resolve some important issues but does not end the marriage. People file for limited divorce usually because they have financial matters or other issues that can’t wait until the court grants the couple an absolute divorce.

Do I have to get divorced through the courts?
The only way to obtain a legal divorce in Maryland is to obtain it through the courts. Whether you work out the details of your uncontested divorce on your own, or go to trial and have a judge decide the distribution of your assets and your parenting plan, the divorce must be filed with the court. Once grounds for divorce are established, either you or the courts will have to resolve the issues of:

  • Child custody and access (visitation)
  • Child support
  • Spousal support (alimony)
  • Use and possession of a home, automobile or personal possessions
  • Distribution of property
  • Distribution of pensions and other assets

When can I file for divorce?
You can file for absolute divorce after you and your spouse have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for twelve months, without interruption.

You can file for divorce immediately if you can prove certain events including adultery, cruelty of treatment, and excessively vicious conduct.

How Much Will My Divorce Cost?
That depends. It depends on the extent to which you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse agree or disagree on important issues such as division of property, custody, and visitation. The more disagreement there is, the more time will be required for a lawyer to resolve your case. That is why divorce lawyers do not work for flat fees. An honest lawyer will advise you whether you have a strong likelihood of getting what you want and advise you against chasing outcomes that are unlikely. Unfortunately, there are many lawyers who will take advantage of the animosity some divorcing couples have towards each other and encourage fighting so as to prolong litigation. At the Law Office of C. Harris Schlecker, we will work to get the best possible outcome for you as quickly as possible. It is impossible to know in advance what your ex might do to unnecessarily prolong litigation, but if it happens, we will fight to make them reimburse the costs you incur where you are legally entitled to reimbursement.

Do I need a lawyer to file for divorce?
No. That being said, people facing divorce are strongly urged to get the assistance of a lawyer in order to understand their rights and to avoid being bullied or tricked into giving up those rights. Divorce is a complex area of law, but lawyers skilled in divorce law understand the formulas and factors courts consider when dividing marital property and determining parenting plans. It is nearly impossible for a non-lawyer to know how courts make these decisions. At the Law Office of C. Harris Schlecker, we have the skill to make sure you get the best possible outcome in your divorce settlement.