Chevy Chase Divorce and Family Law Attorney


Relationships go bad and often there are children involved. Whether you are ending your marriage or breaking up with the mother or father of your child, there are legal issues (rights and responsibilities) that you should be aware of.  For over 20 years, The Burch Law Firm, LLC has helped people through divorce and child custody disputes Chevy Chase, Maryland.  You are not alone in this emotionally-charged time.

With offices at the Bethesda Metro Center, we are located just one metro stop from Chevy Chase.  At the Burch Law Firm, LLC, we focus on what’s important to you – spending time with your family and your financial security.  We handle the difficult negotiations and prepare for court, if necessary so you can avoid conflict with your spouse.  We provide our clients with additional value by avoiding unnecessary litigation and legal fees.  We try to find a way to settle the case; if possible, but are prepared to fight for our clients in court – if necessary.

Attorney Larry Burch, our managing partner is a former Navy JAG Attorney who has been practicing law for over 25 years.  After leaving the Navy in 1996 and opening the Burch Law Firm, LLC, he has represented both military and civilian clients in family law cases. Mr. Burch recently published a book called “Understanding Military Divorce Law: What you need to know” as a layperson’s guide to understanding issues that frequently occur in both military and civilian divorces.

Mr. Burch has many years of experience representing military and civilian clients in Maryland Family Courts in cases involving:  allegations of abuse or domestic violence, child custody and support, division of marital property, alimony and use of the marital home.  Mr. Burch understands how military issues affect families going through divorce; like pensions, VA benefits, allowances and health care benefits are all familiar.

Mr. Burch recognizes that people facing divorce or separation often feel confused and out of their comfort zone.  We all do different things.  At the Burch Law Firm, LLC, we have been through thousands of divorces and separations.  We understand the issues that often come up when couples separate and what the courts look for in making important decisions.  We help you reach your goal and work with you throughout the entire process so you can focus on the things that are important to you.

Divorce Options in Chevy Chase, Maryland

There are two types of divorce in Maryland: (1) Absolute Divorce or (2) Limited Divorce.  Maryland law requires parties to remain apart for either six months or a year before the court will entertain a Complaint for Divorce.  If you have not been separated long enough to file for an Absolute Divorce, you can apply for a Limited Divorce, instead.

A Limited Divorce allows you to get relief from the court even if you are not eligible for an Absolute Divorce.  In a Limited Divorce case, the court can award custody of the children (or access) as well as child support, spousal support, use of the family home and other relief.  However, the court cannot divide the marital assets because you remain legally married following a Limited Divorce.  An Absolute Divorce ends the marriage and allows the Court to divide the marital property.

With an understanding of Maryland’s changing divorce landscape and years of experience, Larry Burch can help you make the best decision for you and your family.  He can also assist you negotiate a Separation Agreement and avoid the expense and acrimony of a contested divorce or child custody case.  When there are contested issues, the Burch Law Firm, LLC is prepared to present your case in court.  We have experience tracking down evidence, including financial information, and presenting the evidence to Maryland and D.C. Family Courts.

Grounds for Absolute Divorce in Chevy Chase

An Absolute Divorce is the total dissolution of marriage.  These are some of the more common grounds for seeking an Absolute Divorce in Chevy Chase.

  • Adultery: allows you to file for divorce immediately;

  • Cruelty or Excessively Vicious Conduct:  also no waiting period required before filing for divorce;

  • Desertion: the parties must be separated for at least 12 months before filing for divorce;

  • One year separation:  12 months separation required, if the parties do not have an agreement or have minor children;

  • Six Months separation:  if the parties have a separation agreement resolving all issues and no minor children; and

  • Mutual Separation: the parties may file for divorce without waiting if: (1) there are no minor children; (2) no contested issues exist between the parties; and (3) both parties appear at the divorce hearing.

See, Maryland Code, Family Law Article 7-103.

To be considered “separated” you must be able to swear (truthfully) that you and your spouse: (1) have not had sexual relations with each other, or (2) “cohabitated” with each other during the separation.  “Co-habitation” usually means spending the night under the same roof – even if you slept in separate rooms.  Therefore, spending just one night in the same house will end the separation.

Grounds for a Limited Divorce include:

  • Separation: (for less than one year)

  • Desertion: (for less than one year)

To file for a Limited Divorce in Chevy Chase, Maryland, you must be separated from your spouse; however, there is no period of separation required.  If you are still living together, the court cannot provide you with any relief unless you are eligible for an Absolute Divorce.

When your relationship or your marriage ends, you confront issues that will affect your financial situation for years to come; including, the property division, child custody and visitation, child support and spousal support and many more.  More importantly, your rights as a parent are often jeopardized by a divorce or separation.  The lawyers at The Burch Law Firm located near Chevy Chase at the Bethesda Metro Center help our clients through this difficult period while protecting their interests.

Contact us at (301) 474-4468 for a free consultation.