• Can You Deny Visitation When Child Support Is Late?

    One of the benefits of hiring a family attorney near Owings Mills is that he or she can provide legal guidance when you experience a problem with child custody or support. If your ex-spouse fails to make timely child support payments, your divorce lawyer can explain your legal options. These options do not include denying visitation to your ex-spouse. Visitation and child support are two completely separate issues. Only a court order can modify a child support arrangement .

    Under most circumstances, children need ongoing access to both parents, regardless of whatever disputes may arise between the parents. Child support is not dependent upon the amount of time spent with either parent. For example, if a child spends a few weeks with the non-custodial parent during the summer, the non-custodial parent is still responsible for paying child support during those weeks. If you to attempt to reduce or deny visitation because of late child support, your ex-spouse may hire a family law attorney. The divorce lawyer can file a petition with the court to request that visitation rights be enforced.

    Visitation Rights

  • What Are the Grounds for Absolute Divorce?

    Maryland divorce laws provide for limited and absolute divorce. A limited divorce is actually a legal separation; spouses are still legally married during this time. In contrast, when an absolute divorce is finalized, spouses are no longer legally married. To find out whether you can file for an absolute divorce, you can consult family lawyers serving Owings Mills.

    Legal Separation

    When spouses do not have any other grounds for an absolute divorce, a divorce lawyer can file for a limited divorce. The spouses must then live apart from each other for 12 consecutive months without cohabitation, unless the conditions from the paragraph below are present. When this time period ends, the spouses will have grounds for a no fault absolute divorce. It is not necessary for both spouses to consent to the divorce if the legal separation requirement has been fulfilled. However, if the spouses live together or have sexual relations even once during this time, the 12-month time period begins again.

    Absolute Divorce Mutual Consent

    Maryland divorce laws were recently updated to make it easier for some couples to file for absolute divorce without having to wait through a 12-month legal separation. Spouses may be eligible for an absolute divorce based on the grounds of mutual consent if they do not share any minor children and the parties submit a written settlement agreement to the court signed by both parties. The settlement agreement must resolve all divorce issues such as property distribution. Additionally, both parties must appear in court at the divorce hearing. Before the divorce is finalized, either party may choose to file a motion to set aside the settlement agreement, in which case the divorce proceeding will be halted.

    Fault-Based Grounds

    In addition to the grounds for a no fault absolute divorce, spouses in Maryland may choose to file for divorce based on wrongdoing. For example, a spouse may present evidence to prove that the other spouse has committed adultery, in which case the court can grant the divorce immediately. Or, a spouse may demonstrate that the other spouse has deserted the family home, engaged in cruel treatment, was convicted of a crime, or was confined to a mental institution.

  • Filing Divorce Case Motions

    When you hire a family law attorney near Owings Mills, you can expect him or her to file motions on your behalf. A motion is a request of the court to issue an order. A divorce lawyer can make verbal motions while a court proceeding is underway. Outside of court proceedings, your family attorney can file written motions with the court and provide a copy of all motions to your spouse’s family lawyer.

    For more information about motions in divorce cases, watch this brief video or consult your divorce lawyer. The expert in this video encourages viewers to retain legal representation, since divorce laws vary from state to state and the procedural requirements can be complex.

  • Facts About Alimony Modifications

    In Maryland, divorce laws allow the court to award alimony for the purpose of maintaining a standard of living that is comparable to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, or at least comparable to the other spouse. Consider talking to a divorce lawyer about the alimony laws in Maryland and places like Pikesville that may apply to you. Like child support, alimony arrangements may be modifiable later on if either ex-spouse’s financial circumstances change.

    Letting the Court Determine Alimony

    In Maryland, spouses who do not have children in common and who agree to a divorce settlement outside of court can seek an absolute divorce on the grounds of mutual consent. The divorce settlement must include provisions for spousal support, if applicable. However, it isn’t necessarily in either party’s best interests to sign an agreement for spousal support, rather than letting the judge determine the amount and type of support. This is because the court is required to honor these agreements. In other words, either party may not seek a modification through the court in the event that circumstances change. Talk to your alimony lawyer about letting the court determine the matter of spousal support.

    Alimony Payment Extending or Terminating Alimony

    A Maryland court may award alimony pendente lite. This is temporary alimony that is only paid while the divorce is pending. When alimony continues after the divorce is finalized, it is either rehabilitative (short-term) or indefinite. If a spouse was awarded rehabilitative alimony, he or she may petition the court to extend the period in which he or she will receive payments as long as the rehabilitative alimony is modifiable. To argue the spouse’s case, the divorce lawyer may demonstrate that the recipient spouse is unable to become fully self-supporting. Alternatively, a spouse may petition to terminate rehabilitative or indefinite alimony. A termination may be called for if the payor spouse is no longer financially able to make the payments or if the recipient spouse becomes self-supporting.

    Modifying the Amount of the Payments

    During a divorce, it is impossible to foresee unexpected circumstances such as job loss or reduced wages. There may come a time when the payor spouse is not able to make the full alimony payments. Or, the recipient spouse may receive an inheritance or other sizable financial gift. In either circumstance, one of the spouses may petition the court to modify the amount of the payments.

  • Dealing with Child Custody Issues in Military Families

    Although service to one’s country is invaluable, military families face incredible challenges. The strain of a lengthy deployment can often contribute to the breakdown of a relationship and a subsequent divorce proceeding. However, even in the absence of divorce, military families may need to consult a child custody lawyer serving Owings Mills. This is because the military mandates the creation of Family Care Plans for certain servicemembers.

    Family Care Plans

    Family Care Plan for Military A Family Care Plan is a document that establishes child custody arrangements; however, it is used by parents who are not divorcing. The military requires servicemember parents to have an official Family Care Plan under certain circumstances, such as when both parents are active duty servicemembers with children under the age of 19. This document details how care will be provided to the children in the event that one or both parents are deployed on a short-term or long-term basis. For example, during a short-term absence such as a week-long training program, the child might stay with a nearby aunt or uncle. For a long-term deployment, it may be more appropriate for the child to stay with a different relative, even if this relative lives farther away. Military Family Care Plans also designate a guardian for the child in the event of the death of the military parent. A family law attorney can help parents develop a Family Care Plan.

    Military Relocations

    When military parents separate or divorce, relocations can be particularly tricky. Child custody is governed by state law, even for military families. This means that it is likely that the custodial parent will have to ask the court for permission to move with the child when that parent is transferred to a different post.

    Child Custody Modifications

    The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) gives military parents certain legal rights. When an active duty servicemember is deployed and the other parent files for divorce or a change in child custody, the active duty servicemember can obtain a stay of court and administrative proceedings. This stay postpones court proceedings for 90 days to allow the servicemember to be present. Sometimes, the judge may decide to extend the stay.

  • Can a Parent Change a Child’s Last Name After a Divorce?

    After a divorce, either parent may petition for a change of the minor’s last name. Changing the child’s last name will not affect either parent’s legal obligations to the child, such as child custody or support. If you feel that changing your child’s last name is in his or her best interests, talk to an attorney in Owings Mills. The family law attorney can prepare and file a Petition for Name Change. If both parents consent to the name change, the petition is likely to be granted.

    Bear in mind that you are legally obligated to advise the other parent of the Petition for Name Change and the other parent has the right to file an objection. If the other parent does not consent to the name change, the court will schedule a hearing to decide the matter. At the hearing, your divorce lawyer must demonstrate that the name change is in the child’s best interests. For example, your attorney might provide evidence of misconduct or abandonment by the other parent.

    Last Name Change

  • Debt and Divorce

    Divorce doesn’t only take a toll on your emotional health; it can also have significant financial consequences. To minimize the financial impact of filing for divorce , your divorce attorney serving Owings Mills is likely to recommend that you close all joint accounts. If you have joint accounts that still have a balance and it is not possible to pay them off before your family lawyer files the divorce petition, you might consider talking to the creditors about freezing the accounts.

    When you watch this video, you’ll learn that it may be possible for you to be held responsible for your ex-spouse’s debts after divorce, even if your name was not on the accounts. This video also explains why you should have your family law attorney include an indemnification clause in your divorce decree.

  • What Seniors Need to Know About Divorce

    Getting a divorce may not necessarily be your vision of your golden years, but it’s no longer an uncommon occurrence for seniors to divorce. In fact, the divorce rate for couples who are 50 years of age and older has doubled in recent years. When considering a divorce at any stage in life, it’s essential to obtain legal guidance from a seasoned family law attorney in Baltimore and Carroll Counties. A family law attorney can help you understand how Maryland divorce laws may affect you.

    Spousal Support

    Senior Divorce As a senior, it’s not likely that you’ll need to receive or pay child support. However, spousal support may become an issue. If the marriage was a long one, then the court may be more likely to award indefinite alimony instead of short-term alimony. A spousal support arrangement will depend on many factors, such as whether one or both of the spouses are working and what standard of living was enjoyed during the marriage. A family law attorney can review your unique situation to estimate whether the court may be likely to award alimony.

    Marital Property

    Older couples who are divorcing may be more likely than younger couples to have accumulated significant marital assets. Maryland is an equitable distribution state. This does not mean that the marital assets will automatically be split 50/50, but rather that the court will determine an arrangement that is fair for both parties. One major point of contention for divorcing spouses is often the family home. If one spouse is particularly attached to the home, then the other spouse might agree to leave the home in exchange for a larger share of another asset, such as retirement funds. Bear in mind that if you keep the home, you may later have difficulty with property taxes and maintenance – particularly if you take a reduced alimony payment or share of the retirement funds.

    Prenuptial Agreements

    After your divorce is finalized, you may decide to begin dating again. If you decide to remarry, it’s a wise decision to have a family lawyer draft a prenuptial agreement for you – just in case. Another divorce may have serious consequences for your retirement.