Maryland divorce laws allow both no-fault and fault-based divorce cases. If you inform your divorce attorney serving Owings Mills that you would like to seek a no-fault divorce, he or she will ask you if you have minor children in common with your spouse. Previously, Maryland divorce laws required spouses to prove a legal separation of one year before seeking a no-fault divorce. If only one of the spouses wanted a divorce, that time period was lengthened to two years.
However, new legislation has eased these requirements for some spouses. You may not need to prove a legal separation if you do not share minor children with your spouse. To eliminate the waiting period, you and your spouse must also mutually agree to the divorce and agree to a property division arrangement. If you and your spouse cannot meet these criteria, you can still obtain a no-fault divorce after fulfilling the legal separation requirements.
Alimony, or spousal support, is money that the court may order one ex-spouse to pay to the other for the purpose of maintaining the same standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage, or to maintain a standard of living similar to the other spouse. There are many types of disputes that may arise pertaining to alimony. For all of them, you can turn to your divorce lawyer for assistance. You may experience alimony disputes while the divorce is still pending. For example, your spouse may argue against the amount of the payments. Either spouse may attempt to hide assets to obtain a financially favorable outcome. It’s also common for alimony disputes to arise well after the divorce has been finalized, such as the failure of one spouse to make payments.
Maintain Detailed Records
Keeping your financial records up-to-date is always a good idea, especially if you are paying or receiving alimony, or if you expect to do so in the future. For example, before you have your family lawyer file the divorce petition, create a detailed inventory of all of your assets and your spouse’s assets. This reduces the possibility that your spouse will try to conceal assets. Moving forward, retain copies of your recent bank account statements, pay stubs, and receipts for any major purchases.
File a Motion for Enforcement
If you are receiving alimony payments and your ex-spouse suddenly stops making payments or only submits partial payments, it’s time to schedule another appointment with your family law attorney. Depending on the circumstances, you may wish to speak with your ex-spouse first to determine why he or she has stopped sending payments. If the problem occurred because of job loss, you might consider having your lawyer draft a written agreement to temporarily modify the alimony arrangement. Otherwise, you can ask your family law attorney to file a motion for enforcement or petition for contempt. This is a petition that requests the court to enforce the court-ordered alimony agreement.
Petition the Court for a Modified Order
Either spouse may consult an attorney to seek a modified alimony agreement. If you’ve experienced a significant change in circumstances that requires you to receive more or pay less alimony, you can ask your attorney to file a petition with the court. Be prepared to show documentation to prove your change in circumstances.
In an ideal divorce or legal separation case, both spouses would be able to mutually agree upon a child custody arrangement that serves the best interests of the child. However, child custody is usually more complicated than this. If you’re thinking about filing for divorce and you share minor children with your spouse, you should consult a child custody lawyer serving Owings Mills as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you understand the child custody laws that may apply to your case.
Amicable Resolution of Disputes
When you and your spouse cannot agree on child custody, the judge may order both of you to attend mediation sessions. During these sessions, an impartial mediator will facilitate a discussion in which both spouses try to negotiate an acceptable custody arrangement . Although doing so can be difficult, it’s best to try to set aside feelings of animosity toward your spouse and to work together for the sake of your child. When successful, mediation can help spouses establish a long-term working relationship. When mediation fails to resolve child custody disputes, the matter is turned over to the judge.
Parental Communication Issues
Your divorce lawyer may have already informed you that Maryland child custody laws allow judges significant discretion in determining child custody. Judges must evaluate the totality of circumstances to determine which arrangement is in the child’s best interests. One of those factors may involve the ability of both parents to communicate with each other. This is particularly important for establishing whether parents will share joint legal custody. Each spouse must demonstrate that he or she is capable of mature conduct when communicating with the other party in order to reach decisions for the child’s upbringing. It is not necessary for ex-spouses to agree on every detail of childrearing; however, they should be able to work together to make major decisions, such as those involving healthcare and education.
Primary Caregiver Role
Another factor involved with resolving child custody disputes is the primary caregiver of the child. The judge may consider which parent fulfilled this role when making decisions regarding physical custody and visitation. This factor is particularly influential when the child is young. If you are seeking primary physical custody, your divorce lawyer may advise you to begin documenting your responsibilities as the child’s primary caregiver.
Dating while a divorce case is pending is not advisable for a few reasons. As your lawyer in Baltimore County can explain to you, Maryland courts will allow a no-fault divorce if spouses with minor children have voluntarily lived apart each day for one year. Bear in mind that if one spouse does not want a divorce, this time period increases to two years under divorce laws in the state. Maryland family laws also allow for fault-based divorces, which do not require documentation of a legal separation. One of the grounds for a fault-based divorce is adultery.
Until your divorce is officially finalized, you are still legally married even if you have been living apart from your spouse. This means that if you begin dating prematurely, you could be considered to be an adulterer. Additionally, your spouse may introduce evidence of possible misuse of marital funds, such as by diverting martial funds to pay for expensive vacations or luxury items for your date. If this occurs, the court may consider these issues in light of whether you or your spouse is requesting spousal support.
Divorce can be just as financially problematic as it is emotionally exhausting. You may wish to visit a family attorney near Pikesville before informing your spouse that you intend on filing for divorce. Your family lawyer can offer invaluable advice on protecting your bottom line during and after your divorce.
Ignoring the Importance of Savings
When a spouse realizes that a legal separation or divorce is the only viable solution to the breakdown of a marriage, he or she may be eager to go through with the proceedings as quickly as possible. However, it’s essential to ensure that day-to-day living expenses will be met before the court issues rulings on financial matters. Once you’ve begun a legal separation or filed for divorce, you’ll need to pay legal fees and court filing fees. You may also need to make new housing arrangements and meet your other daily expenses on your income alone. Your divorce lawyer may advise you to open a savings account under only your name to allow you to support yourself while the case is pending.
Underestimating Your Expenses
You will need to submit to the court documents pertaining to your finances, including a list of your monthly expenses. Evaluating your income and expenses with the finances of your spouse aids the court in making decisions such as spousal support and child support. One common mistake divorcing spouses often make is to underestimate their monthly expenses. Keep track of exactly where your money goes during the month. Take into consideration your future needs and your child’s needs, including major expenses such as healthcare and minor costs such as school supplies.
Failing to Secure Support Payments
If you expect to receive spousal support and/or child support, you might consider asking the court to require your spouse to obtain disability and life insurance policies. This ensures that you’ll continue to receive payments in the event your ex-spouse becomes disabled or dies.
Neglecting to Consider Shared Liability for Debt
Talk to your divorce lawyer about your marital debts. He or she will help you determine which debts you may be held liable for after the divorce. Even if your spouse is responsible for paying off a credit card, the creditor may begin collection proceedings against you if your spouse fails to make payments.
In recent years, the percentage of individuals over the age of 50 who are going through a divorce has been on an upward trend. When you consult a divorce lawyer later in life, there are significant financial issues you should consider. Your family law attorney near Pikesville may recommend that you consult a financial planner regarding the tax consequences of any assets you might receive. Your family attorney may also recommend that you consider the possible effect of the divorce on your healthcare plan.
You can hear more factors to consider by watching this video or consulting your family lawyer. This video advises viewers to review their estate planning documents, since it’s likely that divorced spouses will need to change their beneficiaries, create separate wills, and establish separate trusts.
The issue of the fate of a family pet during a divorce is one example of divorce laws failing to keep up with modern times. When you have a divorce attorney serving Carroll County file a petition for divorce on your behalf, the court will view the family pet as property. Beloved animals are certainly much more than mere property; however, ownership of a pet may be determined much like any other asset. This is one reason why your family law attorney may recommend that you invite your spouse to try mediation.
Giving Mediation a Try
Mediation is often helpful for resolving disputes that arise during divorce. During mediation sessions, you might point out that you acquired the pet before getting married, if this is the case. Or, you might discuss how you are better suited to provide the care the animal needs. A successful outcome to mediation may be dependent upon compromise. Try to work out a visitation schedule with your spouse. For example, the pet could live with you for one month, followed by a month with your ex-spouse. If mediation does not result in a mutually agreeable arrangement, you may need to bring the matter before the judge.
Proving the Role of Primary Caregiver
Much like child custody during a divorce, you can support your claim to ownership of the pet by proving that you fulfilled the role of the primary caregiver for the animal. Begin assembling any evidence that can substantiate your claim. When you bring your animal to the veterinarian, you can ask him or her to sign a note stating that you were the one to bring the animal in, rather than your spouse. Purchase pet food and other supplies with a credit card. Save the receipts with your signature to prove that you provided for the animal. You could even ask your neighbors to write an affidavit stating that they have seen you walking your dog.
Determining the Most Suitable Caregiver
Another factor the judge may consider is which spouse is best able to care for the animal going forward. For example, if your spouse must travel frequently for work and you do not, you may be better suited to provide care. The same applies to spouses who work long hours away from home versus spouses who work out of a home office.
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