• What Happens to Retirement Accounts During Divorce?

    Property division is often a contentious issue in divorce cases. When you consult your divorce lawyer in Owings Mills , be sure to bring along a complete list of all of your assets, including retirement accounts. Every divorce is different, depending on the exact types of retirement accounts that are involved. For example, if you and your spouse have an IRA, then you should be able to transfer some of the funds into a new account for one of the spouses. If done properly, no taxes should be assessed; change in fund ownership will be treated as an IRA rollover or transfer by the IRA custodian. Your family lawyer will ensure that the transfer is handled correctly to avoid tax assessments and early withdrawal penalties.

    Qualified retirement plans are handled differently from IRAs during a divorce. Spouses must use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to divide the assets in the account between the account owner and the current spouse, ex-spouse, child, or other dependent.

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  • A Spouse’s Guide to Cruelty and Vicious Conduct

    Maryland divorce law is quite restrictive, although a recent change in the rules relaxed the requirements for couples who do not share children and reach agreements on other matters. In nearly all other cases, spouses must live apart for 12 continuous months before they can be granted an absolute divorce, rather than a legal separation. An exception to this rule applies when a spouse has fault-based grounds for absolute divorce, such as cruelty and excessively vicious conduct. A family law attorney near Owings Mills can discuss your case with you and determine if a fault-based divorce is right for you. family - attorney

    Physical Violence

    For a court to grant divorce on the basis of cruelty, your spouse’s actions must be egregious to the extent that they could be said to significantly jeopardize your health or permanently eliminate your happiness. A court is more likely to determine that physical violence constitutes cruelty if the spouse engaged in a pattern of physical violence, has threatened physical violence, or has engaged in mental abuse. Divorce may be granted if this abuse was directed to either you or to a minor child. Acts of physical violence may include instances of marital rape.

    Mental Abuse

    Courts give mental abuse significant weight when considering whether to grant an absolute divorce for fault-based grounds. Generally, mental abuse must be egregious. For example, the use of profane language alone might not be sufficient to prove cruel treatment. However, the court might consider the use of profane or indecent language to belittle the spouse or otherwise compromise his or her self-respect. Other types of mental abuse include controlling behaviors like isolating the spouse from other family members and friends. Mental abuse can include taunting and making public, false accusations for the purpose of debasing the spouse.

    Evidence

    Proving cruelty and excessively vicious conduct in court requires the use of physical evidence or witness testimony. Your family lawyer can guide you in establishing proof, such as through the use of medical records, photographs of injuries, and written communications.

  • Speaking with Your Kids About Divorce

    When you and your spouse are certain that you’re moving forward with a divorce, it’s time to decide when and how to tell the kids. A family law attorney in Owings Mills may recommend that you and your spouse attend divorce mediation to try to work out a custody and visitation arrangement . If so, then you might want to delay having the discussion until you can answer the kids’ questions about where they will live.

    For more helpful advice, watch this brief video. It recommends telling the kids a few days before one of the parents will move out to give the kids time to get accustomed to the idea. Remember to emphasize to the kids that the divorce isn’t their fault. Avoid blaming the other parent and never say anything that makes the kids feel as though they have to choose sides.

  • Preparing for Your Appearance in Family Court

    Going to family court can be an intimidating experience, especially if it’s your first time. However, having a family attorney on your side will make all the difference. A family law attorney near Pikesville will advise you as to what you can expect from your day in court, how you can prepare, and how you should conduct yourself during the proceedings. Your family attorney will also likely review the details of your case with you and help you practice answering questions if you expect to give testimony. family - court

    Childcare Arrangements

    In most cases, children should not be taken to family court. The exception is if the judge wishes to speak privately with the children. You can ask your family lawyer about this, but in most cases, it’s necessary to arrange childcare. To reduce your children’s anxiety, you can simply tell them that you have an appointment.

    Documents

    Talk to your attorney about the documents you should bring to the hearing. If you aren’t sure whether you should bring a particular document, err on the side of caution and bring it along just in case. For the average child custody case, petitioners and respondents might bring records of their correspondence with each other, logs of correspondence with the minor child and educational records such as report cards and progress reports. Records of correspondence with the child can help to either prove or disprove a parent’s continuous communication with the child and the ongoing parental relationship. Parents might also keep records of the visitation schedule with the child.

    Appearance

    It should go without saying that attending a hearing in family court is a formal affair. Make a good first impression by dressing appropriately for the occasion. For men, a suit is always appropriate, but a shirt with a collar and a pair of slacks should be considered the bare minimum. Ladies may wear a pants or skirt suit, dark, non-patterned dress, or dress pants paired with a long-sleeved blouse. It’s best to avoid wearing flashy, skintight clothing, revealing clothing, sneakers, or open-toed shoes.

    Arrival

    It’s possible that your hearing may not start on time. However, you should always arrive a little early. You’ll need to get your bearings, check in with the court officer, and get last-minute advice from your family law attorney.