guidance for what
At the Law Office of Robin Rucker Gaillard, LLC, we help clients in Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County, and other counties throughout Maryland resolve their legal problems and define and reach specific goals. We listen carefully to our clients, respond promptly to their needs, and keep them well-informed about their case from start to finish. In delivering legal services, it is always our pleasure to treat our clients with courtesy, professionalism, respect, and compassion. Our Prince George’s County family law lawyer is proud to offer services to Maryland residents who need marital or cohabitation agreements; or who are contemplating separation and divorce; or who need adoption services; or who need contested custody and child support matters resolved. We also offer skilled representation in matters related to estates and trusts, personal injury, and DUI/DWI defense. To optimize results in each case, we put our proficiency in persuasive legal reasoning and writing and inspired oral advocacy to work for you at every phase of your case. We protect your interests and give your concerns the attention and consideration that they deserve. Whether you choose mediation, collaboration, or litigation, we are there for your ultimate success. We never give up!
When people are overwhelmed or confused by a maze of legal issues, they turn to our firm as a reliable resource for straightforward answers to their legal questions and workable solutions to their legal problems. Since each case is unique, we take the time to educate our clients and to tailor a personalized case plan that helps each client meet a specific need or resolve a special problem. We scrutinize the facts of each case and pursue the best plan of action. We use a variety of tools, including analytics, to help ensure that any plan devised, whether for litigation or settlement purposes, yields the best result for each of our clients.
Disputes involving familial relationships have high stakes and can become heated. A family law attorney in Prince George’s County or the surrounding areas can help you take steps to define your legal rights and obligations. The Maryland Family Law Code sets forth the parameters for filing a lawsuit in the family courts. For example, the Maryland Annotated Code includes provisions defining who may seek a divorce or child custody and establishes requirements regarding notice. Anyone seeking legal intervention in a family law matter must comply with the obligations imposed by the Code, since failing to do so may adversely affect their rights.
Maryland allows a spouse to seek a no-fault divorce. This means that a person seeking a divorce on a no-fault ground does not need to prove that his or her spouse caused the failure of the marriage, in order to obtain a divorce. Maryland also allows for fault-based divorces on the grounds of adultery, desertion for a minimum of 12 months, insanity, or the cruel or vicious treatment of the person seeking the divorce or his or her minor child. If the grounds for seeking a divorce took place outside Maryland, one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to either spouse filing a petition for divorce.
When people who have a child together decide to end their relationship, their main concern is typically determining an appropriate child custody arrangement. Our Prince George’s County family law lawyer can protect the interests of people throughout Maryland during this critical time. If the parents are unable to come to a custody agreement on their own, the court may award custody to either parent, but in most cases, the court will award joint custody to both parents. Neither parent is assumed to have a greater right to custody of a child. Instead, the court will set up an arrangement that is tailored to the best interests of the child.
All parents have an obligation to provide financial support for their children. In cases in which the parents of a child do not live together, the court may impose a child support obligation on one parent, which requires that parent to make payments to the other parent. Courts employ the Maryland child support guidelines in setting the amount of support. The guidelines follow what is known as an income shares model, which assesses each parent’s income and the estimated share of each parent’s income that would be allocated to the costs of raising the child if the parents lived together.
Each spouse in a marriage has a duty to support the other spouse. Thus, a court may order either spouse to pay alimony (spousal support) to the other spouse until the divorce is final. If the court finds that it is necessary, it may order alimony to be paid after the divorce as well. These payments may be rehabilitative, lasting only until the recipient is financially self-sufficient, or they may be indefinite, which is usually appropriate if the recipient will not be able to become self-sufficient. Alimony awards may be modified if either spouse’s circumstances change.
While most people enter a marriage with the hope that it will last forever, it is often prudent for the spouses to set up a marital agreement to protect their assets in the event of a divorce. Our Prince George’s County family law attorney can assist people throughout Maryland with this process. Prenuptial agreements can determine what constitutes marital and separate property, whether either spouse is entitled to alimony, and how property should be divided if the marriage ends. If a couple does not devise an agreement prior to getting married, either spouse can protect their rights and property later in a postnuptial agreement. It is important to note, however, that neither type of agreement can determine child support or custody.
Estate planning tools allow people to ensure that their wishes are carried out in their later years and after they are gone. For example, wills allow people to dictate how their property and assets will be distributed in the event of their death. Trusts can be a useful alternative to wills that allow assets to avoid the costly, time-consuming probate process. Advance directives allow people to set forth the care that they should receive if they become gravely ill. A person also can grant a power of attorney to someone whom they trust. This allows the grantee to make decisions for the grantor if they become incapacitated.
After a person dies, if he or she was the sole owner of any property, the person’s estate must go through probate. Probate is the process by which the courts gather the assets of an estate and distribute the assets to the deceased person’s beneficiaries. To complete the probate process, the estate’s personal representative must identify any probate assets, file the forms and tax returns required by law, and pay any outstanding debts and taxes owed by the estate. Any remaining probate assets will then be distributed in accordance with the terms of a valid will or, if the deceased person died without a will, in accordance with Maryland intestacy laws.
When a person lacks the capacity to make decisions on his or her own behalf, it often becomes necessary for someone else to seek a guardianship. Guardianships allow an individual appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of an adult who is deemed legally disabled, or on behalf of a minor child. A guardianship of a person allows the guardian to make important decisions regarding the person’s care, while a guardianship of property permits the guardian to act as a fiduciary to protect the person’s assets. A guardian is often a family member but can be any competent person willing to act on behalf of the incapacitated person.
Anyone driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher can be charged with DUI. Additionally, anyone operating a vehicle while impaired due to alcohol can be charged with DWI, regardless of their blood alcohol concentration. Simply because a person is charged with DUI or DWI does not mean that the State will be able to obtain a conviction. The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person committed each element of the offense. Even if the State has strong evidence, a person charged with DUI or DWI may be able to argue that the evidence was obtained improperly and therefore should be excluded.
Someone who suffers an injury due to another party’s carelessness can seek recourse via a personal injury lawsuit. Generally, the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit will allege that the defendant was negligent. A negligence claim in Maryland requires the plaintiff to show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty, the defendant breached the duty, and the plaintiff suffered actual injuries or losses that were proximately caused by the defendant’s breach. In other words, the plaintiff must show that he or she would not have been injured if the defendant had not breached the duty.
All drivers are obligated to comply with Maryland laws and to drive safely under the circumstances. Unfortunately, though, unsafe driving is the cause of many car accidents. If you were injured in a car accident, you may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages. These may include medical bills, lost income and earning capacity, property damage, and pain and suffering. Since a victim will not recover damages if they contributed to causing the accident, fault is often fiercely contested in these cases. This makes retaining an attorney critical.
If you need a family law attorney in Prince George’s County or elsewhere in Maryland, or representation regarding an accident, a DUI charge, or an estate planning issue, Attorney Robin Rucker Gaillard is ready to listen to your story and develop a strategy for you. She represents people in Prince George’s, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, Charles, Calvert, Howard, Frederick, Queen Anne’s, and Baltimore Counties. You can contact us through the online form or at (301) 363-2933 to set up a consultation.