A Closer Look at the Leading Cause of Divorce
If you ask any divorced individual what caused the breakdown of the marriage, there’s a good chance he or she will mention personal finances. Poor money management and different spending or saving styles are among the most common reasons why couples around Owings Mills might consult a family law attorney. And unfortunately, divorce itself usually contributes to a couple’s financial woes. After filing for a legal separation or divorce , exes must adjust to living on a single income, changing their housing arrangements, and perhaps replacing physical property that the other spouse received in the divorce settlement.
If you’re engaged and you would like to improve the longevity of your impending marriage, consider talking to your fiancé about money management long before you walk down the aisle. When you watch this video, you’ll hear how Jason and Courtney explored their individual and joint finances together before they were married. The financial planner featured here recommends opening “his” and “hers” accounts along with a joint account to reduce the possibility of divorce. Of course, it never hurts to find a good family lawyer—just in case.
Dealing with the Issue of Credit Card Debt During Divorce
Before you have your family lawyer file the divorce papers, you should take the time to discuss all of your concerns and your goals for the outcome of the case. If you live near Owings Mills, your family attorney will inform you that Maryland is an equitable distribution state . This means that the judge will order a fair or equitable division of property and liabilities such as credit card debt. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean that your assets and debts will be split 50/50, however. Debts such as credit card debt can be particularly tricky to resolve during or after a divorce.
How Should I Deal With Joint Accounts?
Talk to your family attorney about closing joint accounts before you file for divorce. If this isn’t possible because a balance remains on the credit card, you may be able to have the creditor place a freeze on the account to prevent your spouse from making purchases with it. Depending on your particular situation, you might also consider talking to your spouse about paying off the account together before filing for divorce. If credit card debt remains during the divorce, your divorce decree should specify who is responsible for paying it.
Why Is the Credit Card Company Pursuing Collections Against Me?
Many people experience problems with creditors long after the divorce is finalized. If your ex-spouse was responsible for paying off a credit card, but your name is attached to the account, the creditor may pursue collection actions against you if your ex-spouse fails to make payments. This is because credit card companies are not required to honor the provisions in a divorce decree. Unfortunately, this also means that the failure of your ex-spouse to make payments could affect your credit score.
Am I Liable for Debt If My Ex-Spouse Filed for Bankruptcy?
Similarly, if your ex-spouse files for bankruptcy and has his or her credit card debt discharged, your name will remain on the joint account and the credit card company can demand payment from you. Bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily erase the debt, but rather eliminates your ex-spouse’s liability for it. However, bankruptcy will not eliminate your ex-spouse’s liability toward you. If the credit card company holds you liable for the debt, you can in turn file a civil lawsuit against your ex to demand damages.
No More Waiting: Changes in Maryland Divorce Law
While most couples who marry hope to stay together for the rest of their lives, divorce is a possibility. If you and your spouse agree that you cannot stay married, a divorce can be the best choice for both of you. Up until recently, couples in Maryland who wanted to get a divorce had to wait one year from the time one spouse moved out to make the separation official. Thanks to a new law, however, couples without minor children who can agree on the division of property no longer have to wait. This expedited divorce process indicates progress in the area of divorce law, and respects the privacy of both parties more than the old law. Take a look at this infographic from a divorce lawyer in Owings Mills to learn more about what the new law means for couples in Maryland who are divorcing.
Does Remarriage Impact Child Custody?
Once a divorce has been finalized, an ex-spouse is at liberty to remarry if he or she chooses. In many cases, the remarriage will not create new child custody issues for families in and around Owings Mills. Maryland family courts cannot include the new spouse’s income in the calculations for child support; these obligations should in theory remain unchanged. However, the other parent may petition for a reduction of child support if the family attorney can demonstrate that the new spouse pays all or most of the custodial parent’s expenses. In addition, it is possible that remarriage will affect a spousal support order.
In certain cases, remarriage might affect the child custody arrangement. For example, if the remarriage precipitates a move out of state for the new spouse’s job, then the remarried custodial parent should consult a family lawyer as soon as possible. The divorce lawyer can advise the custodial parent as to any notification requirements for the relocation. The lawyer may also need to represent the custodial parent if the non-custodial parent contests the relocation and petitions for a modification in child custody.
Common Mistakes in Child Custody Disputes
As stressful as divorce can be on spouses, it’s even more challenging for children. Kids of any age can suffer psychological problems before, during, and long after a divorce. However, there are some steps you can take to mitigate the adverse effects of a child custody case litigated near Pikesville. In fact, some of these recommendations may even be mandated by the child custody order, such as the avoidance of disparaging the other parent in front of the child.
Avoid Using Your Child as a Messenger
Even in an uncontested divorce, children can suffer significant psychological harm if they are made to be active participants in the logistics of child custody arrangements. Parents who wish to avoid communicating with each other may instead ask the child to serve as a messenger. It may seem relatively benign to ask a child to tell one parent that the other will be a little late picking up the child. But doing so sends a subtle message to the child that the parents are incapable of communicating with each other. It also exposes the child to the potentially negative emotional response of the parent who receives the message.
Avoid Cutting Off Communication With the Other Parent
Talk to your family lawyer about including communication provisions in the child custody agreement. The document should include an arrangement for ongoing, regular communication between parents, as well as emergency contact information. While your ex-spouse may be the last person you want to talk with, cutting off communication or communicating through intermediaries is a grave mistake. For instance, it means that you may not discover that your child is struggling in school until the report card arrives or that you might not learn new medical information regarding your child.
Avoid Making Your Child Choose Sides
Parents may not directly inform a child that he or she must choose which parent he or she prefers, but even doing so indirectly can be irreparably harmful to the child. For example, avoid telling your child that he or she can pick which parent to spend a holiday with. Avoid disparaging the other parent in front of the child or asking your child to report on the goings-on at the other parent’s home. Above all, remember to put your child’s best interests ahead of your own.
Protecting Your Finances During a Divorce
Divorce has a reputation for being a costly endeavor. And indeed, certain problems are unavoidable, such as making the shift to living on a single income. But there are ways you can slash the cost of your divorce while still investing in the best family attorney you can find in Baltimore County. To learn how, watch this brief video by a financial reporter.
She explains the benefits of going into divorce mediation with an open mind. In fact, in many cases, the court may order you to attempt mediation with your spouse. By working toward compromises on child custody and other issues during mediation sessions, you can potentially reduce the time that you’ll spend in court with your family law attorney.
Steps to Take When You Are Served with Divorce Papers
The most important step to take after being served with divorce papers is to contact a family law attorney with experience in Owings Mills family courts. Being served with divorce papers can be a very difficult—even traumatic—experience, but it’s crucial to act right away because you have a limited period of time in which to file your response. If you do not retain the services of a divorce lawyer promptly, he or she may not be able to file your written answer within this time period.
Review the Legal Documents Carefully
Your divorce lawyer will help you understand the documents you received. Generally, divorce papers include the complaint or petition for divorce, a summons, and a tracking assignment. The tracking assignment informs you which judge has been assigned to your case. The document package should also include a blank financial statement; your family law attorney can prepare your financial affidavit for you. You might receive a motion for temporary orders, which will indicate the hearing date during which the motions will be ruled on. Temporary orders can make provisions for child custody, visitation schedules, and support while the divorce is pending.
Organize Important Information
After you schedule your initial consultation with a family law attorney, you’ll need to organize relevant documents. These include documents pertaining to marital assets, such as retirement accounts, savings accounts, stocks and bonds, and checking accounts, as well as documents pertaining to your income, like income tax returns and paystubs. Make copies of these statements and make copies of tax returns, credit card statements, and loans. It’s also a good idea to make copies of your children’s birth certificates, health insurance cards, medical records, daycare invoices, and daycare records. These documents may be useful in determining support obligations and demonstrating your involvement in your children’s daily lives.
File an Answer
After you meet with the divorce lawyer, he or she will draft your written answer to the divorce petition and file it with the appropriate court. Then, your lawyer will guide you through the next steps in the divorce process, such as preparing for upcoming court appearances and divorce mediation.
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