• How a Prenuptial Agreement Can Impact Your Divorce

    Given the consistently high divorce rates in modern times, many couples consider it prudent to establish a prenuptial agreement before the wedding. A prenup can protect both spouses, although each of them should consult their own family lawyer in Owings Mills before signing the document. If the marriage doesn’t last, a divorce attorney can offer state-specific guidance regarding the impact of the prenup on the divorce settlement.

    The Benefits of a Prenup

    Divorce doesn’t always have to be a long, drawn-out process filled with arguments and ill will. Divorce mediation is a viable alternative, and having a prenuptial agreement in place may make mediation more likely to succeed. That’s because a prenup can take care of many of the issues that need to be settled before a divorce is finalized. Even if mediation doesn’t succeed in settling the rest of the issues, or if you and your spouse would rather not try mediation, having a prenup in place can lessen the headaches of a court proceeding. It may reduce discovery, and in doing so, reduce legal fees.

    The Disadvantage of a Prenup

    The main downside of prenuptial agreements isn’t one that will apply to every divorcing couple. It will occur if your spouse decides to contest the validity of the agreement. Your spouse will need a legally acceptable reason for asserting that the agreement is invalid. Even if grounds to contest the validity are lacking, the process of proving the validity of the document can make the divorce take much longer. A valid prenup is one that was not prepared or signed with any of the following present:

    • Fraud (i.e., hiding assets)

    • Duress or coercion

    • Incompetence

    • Undue influence

    • Mistakes

    • Unconscionable or grossly unfair

    It’s worth noting that most prenuptial agreements are found to be valid. If you had your prenup prepared by a family court lawyer, it’s almost certainly going to hold up in court.

    The Ways Your Prenup Can Work for You

    The exact ways in which your prenup will affect your divorce depends on its provisions. Bring a copy of the agreement to your consult with the lawyer. Your prenup may affect the following areas:

    • Retirement accounts

    • Alimony

    • Life insurance policies

    • Division of debts and assets

    If you share children with your spouse, your prenup cannot legally affect child custody or child support arrangements.

  • A Divorced Dad’s Guide to Co-Parenting

    Co-parenting is much more than just exchanging the kids for visitation. It’s the process of working collaboratively and amicably with your ex for the sake of your kids. Divorce experts tend to agree that co-parenting is the most effective way to raise kids who are well-adjusted and have healthy relationships with both parents, despite the parents’ divorce in the Owings Mills area.

    Watch this quick video for some helpful tips on successful co-parenting. You’ll learn the value of reaching out to professionals, like counselors and divorce mediators. You’ll also learn that child custody and visitation agreements might be modified as circumstances change and the children grow older. Always remember to prioritize the well-being of the kids, and set aside the personal feelings you have toward your ex.

  • Tips for Parents from Children of Divorce

    Arguably, divorce is more difficult for the children than for the parents. When you make an appointment with a family law attorney near Owings Mills, take the time to also schedule a consult with a family therapist. Even if the children don’t go to the therapist with you, he or she can help you learn how to protect your kids from the most harmful aspects of divorce. Additionally, consider divorce mediation, which may help both parents co-parent more effectively.

    When you watch this video, you’ll hear directly from some children of divorce. They explain what they wish their parents knew when they were getting divorced. Some of their recommendations include: Never argue in front of the kids, never ask the children to pass messages between parents, and never use the children as leverage against the other parent.

  • Why You Shouldn’t Try a DIY Divorce

    No matter how simple your divorce might seem at first blush, things are rarely that easy when it comes to family law. Divorce lawyers in Owings Mills are intimately familiar with the many nuances of divorce, alimony, child custody, and child support laws. You can rely on your divorce lawyer to give you trustworthy guidance about your case and your options. If you do try a DIY divorce, you run the risk of making costly mistakes on the court paperwork, getting an unfair property division, and most importantly, losing the right to joint custody of your children.

    Hiring a lawyer gives you another key advantage: a buffer zone in court. Divorce cases are incredibly stressful. Even if you’ve appeared before a judge before, you’ll likely find it difficult to present your arguments effectively during such a high-stress time. Your lawyer is the liaison between you and everyone else involved in the case, including your soon-to-be ex-spouse and his or her lawyer.

  • Staying Safe While Divorcing an Abusive Spouse

    Despite the protections provided by domestic violence laws in Owings Mills, countless individuals have been victimized by the people closest to them. If you’re considering divorce and your spouse has committed violence or threats of violence against you, then your safety is your priority. Know that acts of violence can unpredictably escalate before victims are able to leave their abusers. Unfortunately, this has caused many victims—mostly women—to lose their lives before they can get away. Don’t wait for the situation to worsen before taking action—get the help you need today. domestic - abuse

    Contact the local police department.

    As soon as you are able, you should report the abuse to your local police department. Call 911 if you need emergency help. When you file the report, be as specific as possible. The report should reflect whether your spouse has an ongoing pattern of abusive behaviors. It isn’t enough to simply say that your spouse broke one of your ribs. To substantiate the case, you’ll need to specify exactly what your spouse did, and what you did during the incident.

    Consult a family court attorney.

    Your spouse may react violently if you tell him or her that you’re seeking a divorce. Instead of telling your spouse first, and then getting legal help, talk to an attorney right away. Your lawyer can provide guidance on obtaining a restraining order. In the meantime, if you do go back to the shared residency, ask your attorney not to call you at home. He or she shouldn’t call your cellphone, either, if your spouse might check your call logs.

    Get to a safe place.

    Even the most carefully planned arrangements can be derailed if your spouse becomes violent again. If you or your kids are in imminent danger, your only priority is to get to a safe place. Call 911, go to a hospital, or go to a relative’s or friend’s house if necessary. The nursing staff at any hospital can direct you to the confidential location of the nearest domestic violence shelter.

  • What Are the Custody and Visitation Rights for Stepparents After a Divorce?

    Stepparents in general have an undeservedly bad reputation, despite the fact that many of them form strong emotional bonds with their stepchildren, and invest considerable time and effort taking care of them. When a stepparent and biological parent divorce, it’s usually thought that the stepparent has no parental rights. However, divorce law in Owings Mills has been slowly catching up to the modern reality of blended families. Since child custody laws are subject to change, stepparents are encouraged to visit an attorney for the latest information about their legal rights. child - divorce

    Determination of Standing

    A divorce attorney will first determine whether the stepparent has the right to have an issue heard by the court. This is known as standing. A court may decide to hear a stepparent’s case if visitation could be in the child’s best interests. The following factors may apply to the determination of standing:

    • Whether the child will suffer harm without visitation with the stepparent
    • The extent of assistance and financial aid provided by the stepparent for the child’s rearing
    • The duration of the stepparent’s parental role with the child
    • The degree to which the stepparent has held an active, significant role in the child’s daily life
    • The strength of the relationship between the child and the stepparent

    Award of Custody

    Divorce law presumes that it’s in the child’s best interests for the biological parent to retain custody, rather than the stepparent. However, there are some occasional exceptions. If both of the biological parents are found unfit to raise the child, the stepparent may be awarded custody. Parental fitness is determined on a case-by-case basis, but may be considered when any of the following factors apply:

    • Incarceration
    • Abandonment
    • Child abuse or neglect
    • Other form of domestic violence
    • Substance abuse
    • Severe psychiatric illness

    Of course, if both of the biological parents have died around the time of the divorce, then the stepparent will also be more likely to secure custody.

    Establishment of Visitation

    Although it’s challenging for a stepparent to get custody, he or she may be more likely to receive visitation. Visitation may be awarded if it’s determined to be in the child’s best interests. The court will consider whether an ongoing relationship with the stepparent will enhance the child’s quality of life.

  • Who Gets to Keep the Pet When Couples Split?

    Along with child custody, the decision regarding who gets to keep the family pet is often the most contentious part of a divorce. If you can’t bear to think of life without your beloved pet, let your family attorney in Owings Mills know that your pet is your priority. You may have to compromise on other matters, such as giving up some of your share of the marital property.

    You can hear more about this complex issue by watching this featured video and consulting your attorney. You’ll hear an interview with Gail, a woman who recently filed for divorce and only requested retaining ownership of her faithful friend, Lucky. Although Maryland divorce law hasn’t caught up to the emotional realities of pet parenthood, the judge presiding over Gail’s case made an exception. He ordered Gail and her ex to share visitation time with Lucky.

  • What Role Does Adultery Play in a Divorce Case?

    Adultery is a breach of trust, and many couples cannot recover from it. But before you tell your spouse that you want a divorce , schedule a consult with a family lawyer serving Owings Mills. He or she can walk you through the process and explain the effects of the infidelity on the divorce case. adultery - divorce

    Grounds for Divorce

    Maryland divorce law is complex, and for most couples, it’s more time-consuming in this state to obtain a no-fault divorce. Many spouses must be legally separated for 12 consecutive months before getting legally divorced. If either spouse has sexual relations with another person, either before or during the legal separation, this is grounds for an absolute divorce. The court can grant an absolute divorce based on adultery much more quickly than the average no-fault divorce.

    Effects on Alimony

    Bring your relevant financial documents to your meeting with your attorney. He or she can review these to give you personalized guidance on the alimony the judge might order. Many spouses are surprised to learn that adultery doesn’t always affect spousal support. Even if your spouse was the one who was unfaithful, he or she could still receive alimony from you. The judge is more likely to consider the role of adultery while establishing the support order if the act of infidelity affected the marital assets. For instance, the adulterous spouse might have spent a substantial portion of the marital assets on expensive gifts for the other person.

    Proof of Adultery

    The judge will only grant an absolute divorce based on adultery if you can prove that your spouse was unfaithful. It is not necessary to prove that sexual intercourse took place. Also, depending on the electronic surveillance used, this might even be illegal. All that’s necessary is to prove that your spouse had an adulterous disposition and an opportunity. An adulterous disposition refers to displays of affection, such as hand-holding, hugging, or kissing. An adulterous opportunity could include any indication that the spouse could have committed adultery, such as evidence that the spouse stayed overnight at the other person’s residence.

  • An Inside Look at the Divorce Process

    If you are eligible for divorce in Maryland , there are several steps you and your spouse must take to legally end your marriage. In addition to making the decision to divorce, you must also settle matters such as asset division, child custody, and spousal support. Working with a divorce attorney serving Owings Mills is a smart choice when navigating Maryland divorce laws; your divorce lawyer will ensure that all relevant issues are covered and that your needs and preferences are met during the divorce process.

    Filing Divorce Documents

    Divorce Papers The first step in seeking a divorce in Maryland is the filing of at least two documents: A Complaint for Absolute Divorce and a Civil Domestic Case Information Report. These documents must be filed by the plaintiff spouse wishing to end the marriage with the circuit court serving your county, and are associated with filing fees; however, you may be eligible for a fee waiver depending on your circumstances.

    Serving of Divorce Documents

    After the divorce documents have been filed, the defendant spouse is personally served with these documents, as well as a Writ of Summons. The plaintiff spouse will receive an affidavit proving that the papers have been served once this process is complete.

    Filing an Answer

    Once the defendant spouse receives the divorce documents, he must file an Answer to the Complaint for Absolute Divorce. This document will admit or deny any allegations made in the Complaint. Additionally, the defendant spouse has the right to file a Counter Complaint for Absolute Divorce, which may state grounds for divorce that are different than those of the plaintiff spouse if he disagrees with the original Complaint.

    Settlement Process

    Before the divorce can be finalized, both spouses must settle issues such as the division of finances and property, child custody and support, and alimony payments. This process is typically aided by the couple’s family court attorneys, and may go through a divorce mediation process or court appearances if the couple cannot come to an agreement on the terms of the divorce.

  • Why Do Couples Get Divorced?

    In the United States, it is estimated that up to 50% of first marriages end in divorce, while up to 60% of second marriages end in divorce. While there are many reasons a couple may choose divorce, there are several common factors that often come into play during this process. If you are considering divorce, working with an experienced family attorney near Owings Mills is the best way to ensure this process proceeds quickly and smoothly, regardless of your reasons for divorce.

    Lack of Commitment

    Reason for Divorce Many couples cite a “lack of commitment” to the marriage and to each other as a major cause for ending their marriage. This lack of commitment may take many forms, from the avoidance of arguments and problems to poor scheduling with respect to spending time together as a couple. When partners do not feel that they hold a significant place in each other’s lives and minds, this feeling often becomes a major underlying contributor to divorce.

    Infidelity

    Infidelity is another commonly-cited reason that couples opt to end their marriage. Whether one or both spouses are guilty of infidelity, the discovery of an affair or the intention to have an affair often irreparably damages the trust between the couple, leading them to pursue a divorce.

    Abuse

    Abusive behavior may be a major or a minor contributing factor to marriage annulment. This behavior can include abusive comments or language, as well as physical and sexual abuse. Especially if abuse is a factor in your decision to end your marriage, hiring a family attorney to help with your case can prevent an abusive spouse from retaining child custody rights after the divorce.

    If you are considering a divorce, contacting a divorce lawyer should be the first step in this process. Your lawyer can help you draft a divorce agreement that includes the spousal support and child custody terms you want, as well as help to provide divorce mediation if you and your spouse disagree on any issues surrounding your separation.