At McQuade Byrum PLLC, we understand that divorce and other family law matters can stress and present challenging situations and confusing issues to all the family members involved. We provide thoughtful, experienced advice and guidance to help you understand the law, plan your approach, understand the consequences of the various options open to you and make informed decisions in your - and your entire family's - interests as you proceed. We cannot promise that the process will be easy. But we do promise to be with you, to help you through it and to work with you to develop and modify your case plan as facts are learned, situations arise or circumstances change.
We represent parties in all kinds of families and in all aspects of family law, including divorce; spousal support; custody and timesharing; child support; property disclosure, classification and division; enforcement of agreements or court orders; and modification of court orders.
We will represent you in direct negotiations with the other party and his or her attorney; in working with a mediator to resolve your issues; in arbitration; and/or in litigation.
We are also adept at drafting and negotiating all kinds of agreements including prenuptial agreements; cohabitation or joint ownership of real estate agreements; trial separation agreements; custody and support agreements; and comprehensive separation and property settlement agreements.
The first step in working with us is a simple phone call to our potential family law client phone line at 703-548-4200 extension 15. You can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The message on that line will give you basic information about our process and ask for certain information from you: your name; the name of the opposing party; if you are married, how long you have been married; whether you are still living together; if not, where you last lived together and where each of you lives now; whether you have children and of what ages; if so, who the children live with; and whether both parties work. If you prefer, you can also provide this information on the email form by clicking here. PLEASE NOTE: The temptation is always to tell us more about your situation than these basic facts. However, it is never a good idea to provide more personal information without first knowing that it can be held in confidence. By providing this basic information, we can confirm that our firm has no conflicts and so would be allowed to represent you if you, and we, choose to work together. For this first contact, if you provide more information than is requested, we cannot guarantee that it will be confidential. As long as you provide only the basic information requested, however, it will kept in strictest confidence.
Once we have verified that we have no conflicts, someone from our office will call you back to schedule an appointment. The return will generally be within 24 hours or the next business day. If you fail to hear back from us within that timeframe, please call or email again as there may have been an issue with your message.
Martha JP McQuade is our primary family law attorney and conducts all family law initial consultations. She charges a flat $500 for this meeting. That is less than 1.5 hours of her time (her regular hourly rate is $400 an hour) and the first meeting usually takes about 1.5 hours, sometimes more, but hopefully not too much more. However long the initial consultation appropriately lasts, the charge is the flat $500.
At this first meeting, you will be asked lots of questions so that we understand your situation as completely as possible. Although none of these is required, it may help you to bring the following items with you: your last several income tax returns; if you did not have those, or did not file jointly, then paystubs for both you and the other party; also a list of assets (real estate; bank accounts in your name, the other party's name and joint names, as well as the children's names or either of you as custodian for the children; stock or other investment accounts in anyone's name; any stock options; any interest in a business); a list of debts (mortgages; credit cards accounts; car loans; loans from family members or friends; student loans); and work-related child care costs for any children including summer camps and the like. If your case is already in litigation, you also need to bring all pleadings, Orders entered by the Court, signed Agreements and correspondence between counsel for the parties.
After we understand what your issues, income, assets and liabilities are, we will explain how the law applies to your situation, what your rights and obligations are (what your options are, if you will). We may also advise you as to ways you can protect yourself before the process goes any further. We will give you our recommendations as to how to proceed. We will then work with you to develop an agreed plan of action in your particular case.
At the end of this meeting, you are not obligated to hire us. All you owe us is the $500 flat fee for the initial consultation. You must pay that in cash or by check as we do not accept credit card payments.
If we choose to work together, and depending on what we are being hired to do, we will then determine what an appropriate "advance" should be in your matter. This is not what the case will cost but the amount you must pay up front and from which we draw as work is done on your behalf. Except in rare cases, our most minimum advance is $5,000, or $7,500 to $10,000 for a case already in litigation or in which the first step will be to file with the Court. The advance amount is always customized and may be much higher depending on the circumstances and issues presented. All of our advances are "evergreen" - meaning you will have to replenish each month as money is drawn from the initial advance. In effect, the full advance is held in trust for application to your final bill.
Most potential clients leave this first meeting much less stressed and anxious, with much more information and knowledge about what can and cannot happen to them, and with a plan in mind as to how to proceed.
If you wish to schedule an initial consultation with Martha McQuade, please call our potential family law client number at 703-548-4200 extension 15, or send our Family Law Intake Form. Again, do not provide any information other than what is requested. If you provide additional information, we may not be able to keep it confidential.
PLEASE NOTE: For those who are clients in other capacities, McQuade Byrum PLLC is also able to prepare or modify your Last Will and Testament, Powers of Attorney, Medical Directives and similar documents. If you are interested in this service, please let us know at your initial consultation or at any point during our representation in your family law matter.