At the Law Office of Elizabeth Stup, LLC, we take seriously the legal and emotional impact that family law matters have on you and your loved ones. We represent clients in Frederick and Washington Counties with comprehensive and effective legal services.
Our attorneys provide supportive guidance throughout the entire divorce or separation process, ensuring that our clients’ interests are protected. Every divorce or separation presents a new and unique set of facts and issues. We will listen to your concerns and help you make the best decisions for yourself and your family regarding the various issues that accompany the ending of a relationship.
Divorce is a difficult process, but sometimes it is necessary when the marriage has reached a point where the parties are no longer able to function in a relationship that is beneficial to both parties. Some couples are able to reach an agreement through working together and using mediation and negotiation skills, often referred to as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes. For other couples, the structure of the litigated court process is necessary to help them move forward, either to reach a resolution for settlement or partial settlement, or to have a judge or magistrate make the necessary decisions for them.
If the parties are able to reach an agreement on the division of property and financial issues, and there are no minor children, the divorce can proceed with minimal court involvement. The testimony of one or both of the parties may be taken in the attorney’s office by a court examiner, a lawyer who has been appointed by the court to take testimony.
In litigated cases, the parties must work with their respective attorneys to prepare their testimony and identify witnesses, documents and other evidence to support their side of the case. Each side prepares to go to court and the judge or magistrate must hear the testimony of the witnesses, review the evidence from both sides, and make a decision. The judges and magistrates must base their decision on limited information that is presented to them over the period of hours or days in the courtroom.
Maryland has moved away from fault grounds, such as adultery, desertion and abandonment, toward mutual consent and no fault. While the fault grounds still exist under Maryland law, if the required one-year separation has been reached by the time the case is presented to a judge or magistrate, the court is likely to simply award the judgment of divorce based on the no fault ground.
Child & Spousal Support / Alimony
In some divorces, one spouse will be ordered by the court to pay child support, or to financially support or pay alimony to the other spouse. We help families establish an arrangement that meets the needs of the parties and the children. If a settlement is not reached, we work to present a case that will assist the court in reaching a decision that is most favorable to our client.
Financial & Property Issues
Maryland is an equitable distribution state, which means that property acquired during a marriage is not divided by ownership or title, but in a way that takes into account the circumstances, earning ability and standard of living of both parties. We work to help divorcing couples reach agreements to divide their property and debts in a manner that meets the needs of both parties rather than leave the decision to the court. In cases where settlement agreements cannot be reached, we make every effort to persuade the court to divide the property in the manner most beneficial to our client.
Mediation and Collaborative Process
We believe that amicable divorce agreements, achieved through Mediation or the Collaborative Process allow separating spouses to resolve issues in a financially and emotionally beneficial manner. Whenever possible, our attorneys work with clients to achieve a favorable divorce or separation agreement without the stress of litigation.