• Paying Taxes on Alimony and Child Support

    Divorce usually results in difficult financial situations, which your alimony lawyer in Owings Mills will help you sort through. You may also wish to consult an accountant when it’s time to file your tax return, instead of handling tax changes yourself. If you’re the parent with primary physical custody of the child, you’re entitled to receive child support. These payments do not have to be reported as income—you’ll receive them tax-free to defray the expenses of rearing your child. If you’re awarded alimony after the divorce , you will typically have to report these checks as income, and they’ll be subject to taxation.

    You might find yourself making alimony and child support payments after the divorce. In this case, your tax situation will be similar to that of your ex’s, only in reverse. You cannot deduct child support on your taxes in order to reduce your tax liability. However, you can usually deduct alimony payments, provided those payments are made in cash, rather than property. Additionally, alimony payments must be court-ordered if they are deducted.

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  • How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced?

    In Owings Mills, Maryland, divorce law is a bit stricter than most of the country, although that has slowly been changing. In most cases, if the couple isn’t eligible for fault-based divorce or a mutual consent, no-fault divorce, then there is a minimum 12-month waiting period. This 12-month period is a legal separation, during which the spouses must not cohabit or have sexual relations. At the end of the separation, the divorce can proceed. The time it takes to finalize the divorce depends on the extent to which the spouses can agree to settle the major issues, such as custody and property division.

    Spouses who do not share minor children and have resolved all issues out of court can seek a mutual consent divorce. Both spouses must sign the proposed settlement agreement. A court hearing may be scheduled in as quickly as 45 days from the filing of the paperwork. Another option is fault-based divorce, in which one of the spouses seeks to end the marriage because of issues like adultery, incarceration, or insanity. Some of these grounds may have their own waiting period. For example, divorce based on conviction of a crime can proceed only if the convicted person has been sentenced to more than three years, and has already served at least 12 months.

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  • Common Questions About Property Division in Maryland

    Divorce typically has substantial effects on personal finances. Not only will the spouses have to adjust to living on a single income, but they won’t have access to the same financial assets as before. The division of property is subject to Maryland divorce laws and factors that are unique to each individual case. For accurate legal guidance, it’s advisable to consult a divorce attorney serving Owings Mills . marital - property

    What is marital property?

    It’s a common misconception that marital property refers solely to property that is jointly owned by both spouses. In fact, marital property includes almost any property that was acquired during the marriage. This applies regardless of which spouse purchased the property or earned the wages. Marital property includes vehicles, furniture, artwork, real estate, stocks and bonds, bank accounts, and retirement accounts. There are a few exceptions to this rule. If one spouse receives an inheritance or property as a gift, it’s considered non-marital property. Property is also excluded if there is a valid, legal agreement that excludes it.

    Is marital property divided 50/50?

    Another common myth about property division in a divorce is that each spouse receives half of the marital assets. Maryland is an equitable distribution state, rather than a community property state. In an equitable distribution state, the court issues rulings on property division based on what would be fair for both parties. A fair result isn’t necessarily an equal distribution.

    Can property be both marital and non-marital?

    In certain cases, it’s possible for property to be marital and non-marital. One person might purchase a condo before the marriage, which would make the condo non-marital property. However, if marital assets are then used to pay the mortgage, the condo becomes partially marital and non-marital property.

    Does the length of the marriage factor into property division?

    The length of the marriage does not necessarily have a significant impact on property division, unless the marriage was short-lived. Short-term marriages do not generally give the spouses enough time to accrue significant marital property. In these situations, the goal of the court is generally to restore both individuals to their pre-marital financial situations. The spouses can expect to keep the property they each brought to the marriage, and fairly divide any assets acquired during the marriage.

  • FAQs and Answers About Maryland Divorce Law

    When you’re facing a divorce in Maryland , it’s common to have questions about the process and how it will affect your future. As soon as you make the decision to separate, retain an experienced divorce attorney who can represent your interests as you negotiate with your ex on issues like child support and alimony. As you make decisions about your divorce, keep these answers to some frequently asked questions in mind. maryland - divorce

    What kind of divorce can I get in Maryland?

    In Maryland, there are both no-fault and fault-based divorce. A no-fault divorce is the easiest to obtain. To qualify for a no-fault divorce, spouses must live apart voluntarily for one year without interruption if children were born during the marriage, or if no children were born during the marriage, spouses may qualify immediately if certain other criteria is met. If you seek a fault-based divorce, your divorce attorney will need to prove a reason for the divorce, such as adultery, cruelty, deliberate desertion that has continued for 12 months or more, or a criminal conviction that includes a three-year or longer sentence. Your attorney will help you choose the right type of divorce for your situation.

    What is the difference between a limited and absolute divorce?

    A limited divorce is similar to a legal separation. During a limited divorce, the couple is separated but the marriage is not terminated. Issues such as child custody and alimony are often decided on a temporary basis during a limited divorce, but those determinations can then roll over to an absolute divorce. An absolute divorce is the final, legal dissolution of a marriage. Limited divorce is not appropriate for every case but can be helpful in instances in which couples have not yet met the requirements for absolute divorce but need assistance in settling their differences until they become eligible.

    How are child support and alimony different?

    Child support is paid specifically to meet the financial needs of the children that were conceived during the marriage. It is typically paid to the custodial parent. Alimony is spousal support and is designed to prevent one spouse from experiencing a significant decline in lifestyle or financial standing after divorce. Courts consider each case individually before ruling on child support and alimony.

  • Common Questions About Supervised Visitation in Maryland

    During a divorce in which the spouses share children in common, a family law attorney in Owings Mills can help the parties develop a proposed visitation plan. Normally, visitation occurs at the parent’s house. Occasionally, a judge may order supervised visitation, in which a neutral third party is present for the entire visitation to ensure the safety of the children. If you have concerns about your children’s safety when they are with your ex, talk to your custody lawyer about requesting supervised visitation. supervised - visitation

    Can I request supervised visitation for my ex?

    Maryland family courts generally only require a parent to have supervised visitation if there is a reasonable belief that a child has been neglected or abused by that parent. It is not sufficient to request supervised visitation because you’re concerned the other parent might not help the kids with their homework or enforce limits on TV time. But if you do have reason to believe that your kids are not safe with the other parent, don’t hesitate to voice your concerns to the divorce lawyer.

    Where does supervised visitation take place?

    This is determined on case-by-case basis. Occasionally, the judge may allow supervised visitation to take place in the home of another relative. Alternatively, supervised visitation may occur at a family services center under the direction of a court-appointed facilitator.

    Is supervised visitation the same as a monitored exchange?

    Family service centers may also provide monitored exchange programs, but these are not the same as supervised visitation. A monitored exchange program allows the parent to drop off the child at the center and then leave. The other parent then picks up the child for unsupervised visitation.

    Is there a fee for supervised visitation?

    Some family service centers do charge fees, while others offer free services. Some centers require both parents to pay an upfront intake fee and the visiting parent to pay the hourly charges.

    How will I know that my child is safe?

    When your child is at a supervised visitation, you can rest assured that he or she will be closely watched by the staff. Staff members are trained to intervene whenever it is necessary to promote appropriate interactions between the parent and child. These staff members have experience working with children affected by divorce and separation, and they can help your child feel safe and secure.

  • Helping Your Child Adjust to Visitation

    After a divorce or legal separation, you and your ex will follow a court-ordered parenting plan. This document establishes the type of child custody that both parents will have and it specifies when the child will be with each parent. Visitation is difficult to adjust to for both parents and children, but as time passes, the arrangement will start to feel more normal. Remember that it is possible to petition for a modification of the visitation schedule as your child grows and situations change. Talk to a family law attorney near Owings Mills for guidance. visitation - rights

    Maintaining a Routine

    Try to imagine how difficult it must be for a child to live in two separate households with two separate routines and sets of rules. Consistency across both households will help your child feel more secure and may even curb problematic behaviors as he or she grows older. Ideally, you and your ex can maintain similar daily routines and household rules, such as finishing homework before playtime and having dinner by a certain time.

    Feeling at Home

    If you’re the parent who moved out of the family home, you have the added challenge of helping your child feel at home in the new residence. Your child should have a bedroom of his or her own. Your child should arrange and decorate the bedroom to take ownership of the space. Extravagance is not necessary, but comfort is. Resist the temptation to purchase lots of new toys for your child for the purpose of distracting him or her from the new arrangement. Instead, focus on spending quality time together enjoying activities that you would normally do with your child.

    Handling Overnights

    Overnight visitation can be stressful for young children, particularly during school breaks when a child might live away from the primary residence for a week or longer. Do not take it as an insult if your child expresses homesickness or misses the other parent. Encourage your child to share these feelings openly and offer judgment-free reassurances.

    Staying Connected

    Children should always feel free to contact either of their parents regardless of which parent they are currently with. Phone calls, text messaging, and video calls strengthen the child’s relationship with each parent. Whenever it’s practical to do so, give your child privacy as he or she chats with the other parent.

  • Recent Changes to Maryland’s Domestic Violence Laws

    If you are a victim of domestic violence, you have the right to consult a family attorney in Owings Mills to discuss your legal rights and options. Your attorney can advise you of recent changes to domestic violence laws in Maryland , which took effect late in 2014. Prior to the passage of the new laws, Maryland had been the only state that required domestic violence victims to meet the standard of “clear and convincing evidence” before a protective order is granted. Now, your attorney must only show that there is a “preponderance of the evidence.” In other words, it’s easier for domestic violence victims to obtain an order of protection.

    Another of the recent laws adds second-degree assault to the list of criminal offenses for which victims can request a protective order that is permanent in nature. Domestic violence victims should be sure to inform their family lawyer if a minor child was present during an act of violence. The third new law allows for enhanced penalties in these circumstances.

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  • How Do Courts Determine Alimony?

    When you consult a family attorney in Owings Mills, one of the questions you will be asked is whether you plan to seek spousal support or alimony . If not, your divorce attorney will consider the likelihood that the court will order you to pay alimony to your soon-to-be ex-spouse. The court has broad discretion in deciding whether to award alimony. The judge will consider all relevant factors to establish a fair and equitable award. alimony - divorce

    Prior Agreements

    It’s always best to consult a divorce attorney before making any agreements directly with your spouse or your spouse’s lawyer. If you sign any agreement regarding spousal support, the court is likely to be bound by the terms of that document. And after a divorce is finalized, you forfeit your right to seek alimony. For example, if you signed an agreement stating that you would not seek alimony and the court is bound by this agreement, you cannot request spousal support later on.

    Marital Factors

    When considering whether to order alimony payments, the court is likely to consider marital factors such as the length of the marriage. There is generally a greater likelihood of awarding alimony if the marriage was substantial in duration. The court might also consider the circumstances that led to the breakdown of the marriage.

    Personal Finances

    The financial resources of each spouse will be carefully considered in every alimony decision. The court will consider the assets and needs of each spouse. For instance, if one spouse demonstrates a need for spousal support, the judge will consider the ability of the other spouse to pay alimony. The standard of living that each spouse enjoyed during the marriage is another relevant factor. The judge can also consider the monetary contributions that each spouse made to the family during the marriage.

    Earning Capacity

    It is not uncommon for one spouse to demonstrate a poor earning history during the marriage if that spouse agreed to relocate or otherwise stop working for the sake of the career of the other spouse. Because of this and other factors, the judge will consider each spouse’s earning history in light of his or her earning capacity. In some cases, one spouse is awarded rehabilitative alimony, which is intended to provide for education or vocational training to improve the earning capacity of that spouse.

  • Determining the Amount of Alimony

    When one spouse is financially dependent on the other during a marriage, the issue of spousal support through alimony payments is determined during the divorce process. Alimony payments may be required only during the divorce process, or for a definite or even indefinite time after the marriage has ended, depending on the needs of the dependent spouse and the financial status of the supportive spouse, amongst other things.

    To determine the amount and type of alimony required, a judge will consider factors such as the length of the marriage, the ages of both parties seeking the divorce, and the ability of the dependent spouse to become financially self-supporting in the future. If you believe you should receive alimony or you are concerned about the amount of alimony your spouse is requesting following your divorce, it’s important to seek the help of an experienced family attorney near Owings Mills. Your family lawyer will use his knowledge of alimony laws to ensure the correct amount of spousal support is mandated before your divorce is finalized.

    Determining Alimony Payments

  • What to Know About Alimony Payments

    Alimony laws are intended to help spouses maintain a comparable standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage. Typically, the intention of alimony is to allow the lesser earning spouse the opportunity to become self-sufficient after the marriage. If a divorce judge awards alimony to one spouse, these payments are completely separate from a child support order. If you intend on seeking alimony from your spouse or your spouse is seeking payments from you, contact an alimony lawyer located in Baltimore County for guidance.

    What happens if spouses make an out-of-court agreement?

    Alimony Payments It’s highly advisable to avoid signing any type of agreement with your spouse before discussing the matter with a divorce lawyer. If you do make an out-of-court agreement with your spouse, the court is generally bound to honor that agreement.

    Can I seek alimony after I’m already divorced?

    After your divorce is finalized, neither ex-spouse can initiate a new request for alimony. If alimony has already been ordered, it may be possible to petition for a modification of alimony payments. Consider talking to your divorce lawyer if you experience a significant change in financial circumstances that might prompt an alimony modification.

    What will the court consider when ordering alimony?

    There are a range of factors the court will evaluate when deciding whether or not to award alimony to a spouse. Primarily, the judge will consider the ability of each party to be self-supporting, the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, and any agreement that was already made between the spouses. The court can consider each party’s financial needs and resources, the time necessary for a spouse to receive education or vocational training, the parties’ respective ages, their health, and the mental and physical capabilities of each spouse.

    Are there any tax consequences for alimony payments?

    Unlike child support-which is neither taxable nor tax deductible-alimony does have tax consequences. Generally, the payor can deduct alimony payments on his or her tax return and the alimony recipient must report it as income.

    Does the court enforce alimony payments?

    If the court has issued an alimony order or decree, then the court can also enforce that order. If an ex-spouse does not remit alimony payments, the court may decide to hold that person in contempt of court.