family law

Family Law

With over twenty (20) years of experience, we at Shechtel and Associates, P.A., can provide you with professional representation if you are involved in a family law matter. We place a premium on personal service. When you retain Shechtel and Associates, P.A., you are not shuffled off to a paralegal, you deal directly with an attorney. We pride ourselves in taking the time to really get to know you, your family, and the issues involved in your case. We do this so we can fully understand the unique aspects of your particular situation to obtain results that will work for you. Remembering that “equity looks on that as done which ought to be done,” we will take whatever time is necessary to become fully vested with the information necessary to prosecute your case so what needs to be done gets done.

We firmly believe that the attorney-client relationship must be built upon the dignity and mutual respect. When you hire us to help you, you will be able to take comfort in knowing that we are always on your side. We take a holistic approach to the practice of law. We take the time to talk with you to learn about the entirety of your needs. We are not monolithic. We do not look at just one aspect of your case. We look at many facets of your case so that we have a view of the big picture.

Our clients are frequently amazed by how hard we work with you to fashion a resolution that is unique to your needs, your children’s needs, and one that best suits your particular life situation. We take the time first analyze different resolutions to the issues presented by your situation. Then we will meet with you to go over each possible solution or resolution to each issue presented by your situation and how that resolution may affect other areas of your life, your children’s lives, or those who may rely upon you.

We believe in open and honest communication at all times. We work hard to keep you fully informed of all developments in your case, whether they be good, bad, or ugly. We will keep you apprised of various options available to you during the litigation process, the cost, and the possible consequences of doing, or not doing, those options.

For more than twenty years, whether you lived in: Anne Arundel County, Frederick County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, or Washington County, Stephen and Associates, P.A., has been here fighting for you. We have represented clients come from all over the world, and just around the corner too. Whether you live in Annapolis, Columbia, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Olney, Rockville, Hagerstown, or anywhere else in Maryland, we are just a phone call or email away.

We at Stephen and Associates, P.A. will be the first to tell you that family law matters, whether it involves: your marriage, separation, divorce, child custody some other issue involving your children, adoption, domestic violence, contempt, or the guardianship of a loved one, are extremely difficult. There are seldom any winners in family law cases, and more often than not, everyone loses.

We work hard to minimize the damage that results when your family dissolves. We understand the effects that the dissolution of your family will have upon you, your children, and your extended family. We know how destructive, painful, and stressful your situation is upon you. Because of our experience and compassion for you, you should not be surprised or offended if we refer you to seek counseling or therapy. We do this in more cases than you would think.

Because we understand what you are experiencing, we are one of the leading law firms in the area in the recommendation of specially trained therapists and counselors to assist our clients so that they can deal with the stress of their situation, and to assist them to “move on” with their lives. Our holistic approach to family law is unique among family law attorneys. Our emphasis is upon you, and what is best for you.

If your marriage is over, and you will want to obtain a divorce, we also know that children’s issues will have to be decided too and that in most instances, custody, access, and support will be the lion’s share of your divorce. As is discussed on our web page concerning Children and Custody, child custody and visitation decisions will be based upon establishing an arrangement that is in the best interests of your children. There is no exhaustive list of factors that the court will use when determining custody. Instead, the court will consider the “totality of circumstances” surrounding what is in the best interests of your child(ren). We urge you to read our web page on Child Custody. It took a long time to write and contains a tremendous amount of helpful information.


Our Family Law Practice


We work with men and women at all stages of a family law or divorce issue. From the initial filing through post-judgment requests for modification or enforcement of a court order. We handle all matters arising out of your divorce, including but not limited to:

  1. Child Custody (Residential)
  2. Sole or Primary Custody plans
  3. Shared Custody plans including 4-3-3-4; 5-2-2-5; alternating weeks, and other shared custody plans
  4. Child Custody (Legal)
  5. Sole Legal Custody arrangements
  6. Joint Legal Custody arrangements
  7. Visitation and/or access
  8. Child support
  9. Spousal support
  10. Alimony
  11. Voluntary Property Settlement Agreements
  12. Separation Agreements
  13. Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO’s).
  14. We offer post-divorce or custody matters including but not limited to:
  15. Parental Alienation
  16. Parental kidnapping
  17. Child Support Enforcement
  18. Collection and collect defense for non-payment of child support
  19. Modification of child support
  20. Modification of visitation or access
  21. Modification of Child Custody (Legal Custody)
  22. Modification of Child Custody (Physical or Residential Custody)
  23. Modification of Alimony
  24. Contempt
  25. Relocation of Custody Orders if you are moving.

Juvenile Court

We provide comprehensive legal counsel in legal matters involving or affecting juveniles, from CINA (child in need of assistance) cases to requests for guardianship, or adoption. We also handle child abuse and child neglect cases.

Domestic Violence

We represent both you as the petitioner or respondent in cases arising out of domestic violence. We appear on your behalf at all hearings or trials related to a petition for a Peace Order or a domestic violence protective order, from the initial hearing (ex parte) through final merits. If you have been charged with a criminal assault arising from a claim of domestic violence, we can appear on your behalf in criminal court if you want us to represent you. We also handle appeals of Peace Orders, Domestic Violence Protective Orders, and assault cases arising from a domestic violence petition.

Peace Orders

If you are harassed, attacked, abused, or being subjected to outrageous conduct by someone who is not related to you, sometimes your best recourse is a Peace Order. Peace Orders are somewhat similar to domestic violence protection orders as they were established so the Courts can order a person who has abused you to stay away from you.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

We work with all forms of alternative dispute resolution, mediation, and arbitration. We are not just family law litigators. We know how mediation works, how to make mediation work for you, and when mediation is a waste of your time and money. We are not afraid to try your case in court if mediation fails. We have a well known and proven track record of getting results that work for our clients.


If the other party involved in your case is not complying with an Order of Court in your case, and assuming that they have knowingly failed to comply, and have had the ability to comply with the Court’s Order; then the offending party can be held in contempt. We know how to prosecute contempt cases and to get results for you. If you have been accused of contempt or not complying with an Order of Court, we can help you in defending yourself from a contempt petition. From our experience dealing with cases involving contempt, we are able to determine in advance the odds that you will be found in contempt, and what can be done to keep you from going to jail.


Shechtel and Associates, P.A. has assisted families in their adoption of children for many years. We do not locate or arrange for children to be adopted, however, if you have a child that you want to adopt, we know how to make it happen.



A guardian is someone appointed by the Court to assume legal responsibility for another person or another person’s property or both. Guardianship is appropriate when a disabled person, known as the ward, is unable to make responsible decisions concerning his or her medical care or financial situation, usually because of a physical or mental illness. Sometimes guardianship may be necessary to obtain consent for a specific medical procedure, for continuing ongoing medical care or for placing the ward in a safe living environment. Guardianship is also appropriate for children.

A Guardianship petition can be handled by you without an attorney, however, the procedure is complicated and has many requirements. We at Shechtel and Associates, P.A. have the experience to represent you and in the end, we will save you time and expense while obtaining a result that is in the best interests of someone you obviously love, as well as your family.

Don’t Hesitate To Ask


Feel free to get in touch with any inquiries and one of our friendly staff members will get back to you as soon as possible, we are here to help!

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