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Annapolis Divorce Law Blog

Child custody factors in Maryland

There are few topics that can be more complex than the determination of child custody or visitation during a divorce proceeding. For a couple with children in Maryland, few issues are likely to be more important, as the decision will govern their interaction with their children and the other parent for many years if the children are young.

Maryland, like most states, uses the concept of the child's best interest and the guiding principle for this child custody determination. "Best interests" is a broad concept and because the determination is done on an individualized basis in each divorce, there is no simple, one-size-fits-all solution. 

Maryland may revoke your licenses for child support arrears

It is important to remember that the obligation that a parent supports their child arises when a child is born. This obligation attaches at birth and is not affected by whether the child's parents are married, although discussions of child support are often a significant element of a divorce proceeding.

Sadly, during a divorce, many parents will consider a child support obligation a means of punishing the other parent, and will consistently pay less than the agreed amount, make late payments or refuse to pay altogether. 

Military divorces are different

Military divorce creates many added complexities to the already complex divorce process. Maryland has a great number of servicemembers stationed at bases located within and adjacent to the state, which means that Maryland's divorce laws come into play for many servicemembers when their marriage fails.

For younger servicemembers, one of the most challenging elements of a military divorce can be the issue of child custody. The demands of the military may create the need for long deployments, often overseas. 

Divorce considerations: Don’t forget about the IRS

If you are a Maryland resident embarked on the divorce process, you’ve obviously got a lot on your plate.

Although no marital dissolution is boilerplate, of course, with unique considerations attaching in every instance that a marriage is untied, some common factors and concerns often coalesce when couples sit down to negotiate divorce details.

Kids, for example. For obvious reasons, child custody can be a paramount focus when a divorcing couple has children to think about. Who will be the custodial parent? Can a workable parenting plan be crafted? How will visitation play out?

Need to change your child support order in Maryland?

If you have been divorced in Maryland and have children from the marriage, it is likely that you have a child support obligation. Unless you have shared custody, have the exact same income and the child or children spend exactly the same amount of overnights at each parents home, one of the parents owe child support to the other parent.

But after the divorce is completed, life moves on and parents lose their jobs or have other changes that affect their income. What do you do then, if you lose your job, have your hours cut or suffer some change that reduces your income?

Virginia same-sex marriage ruling stayed by Supreme Court

As was expected, the stay issued from the U.S. Supreme Court places a hold on same-sex marriages within Virginia, and the ongoing saga of same-sex marriage appears to move one step closer to some type of resolution, albeit slowly.

The cases from appeals courts in Virginia, Utah and likely the Sixth Circuit will all be awaiting some action by the Court this term, although, if the court waits until the Sixth Circuit issues its ruling, arguments for the case would be unlikely before late in this term.

Can your child decide to change the custody agreement?

Child custody issues are never easy. Never. No matter how the parenting plan or custody agreement is put together, there are always the emotions. When your child is at the other parent's home, there are worries over rules and setting of boundaries. There are concerns over what they are watching via the now virtually unlimited media delivery systems to whether they are eating right.

There is the sometimes inconvenience of the transfers between parent's homes, to say nothing of the negotiations to arrive at that agreement in the first place. And that is just with a joint or shared custody. What about when one parent has primary custody and the other parent only sees them for limited periods throughout the year? 

Do you know where your divorce is headed?

With a divorce, there is always the backward glance. Some of the anger and frustration that comes out during some divorces is likely to have been triggered by remorse over the future that could have been. If only your spouse had not been so…so…. Yeah, we know. If it is any consolation, they may have the same thoughts about you.

Because of the lingering resentment over the years that now, in the emotional heat of the divorce, may seem "lost," some couples may resort to obtaining payback during the legal proceedings, adopting a scorched earth strategy. 

Fourth Circuit overturns Virginia's same-sex marriage ban

The momentum in the overturning of bans on same-sex marriage continued with the decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Virginia's ban was unconstitutional. Maryland is part of the Fourth Circuit, and the ruling would apply to the state but for the fact Maryland's legislature approved same-sex marriage in 2012 and it became law in 2013.

The decision by the Fourth Circuit will likely be stayed, as Virginia is likely to appeal the ruling, and the final decision will be made by the U.S. Supreme Court. The ruling in this case represents the latest in more than two dozen state or federal court decisions that have found that marriage bans that discriminated against same-sex couples unconstitutional.

Servicemembers face unequal fight in custody battles

Last month we discussed the plight of a U.S. Navy sailor, who while deployed, was almost held in contempt by a Michigan state family court. The sailor was embroiled in a custody case with his ex-wife. She lives in Michigan, while he and his current wife and daughter from his first marriage live in Washington State when he is not deployed on his submarine.

His daughter was the subject of the child custody hearing. His ex-wife had lost custody of the girl in 2010 when she was removed from her home by Michigan Child Protective Services and was now attempting to modify her loss of custody. The judge misunderstood why the father had failed to appear at the hearing and the judge felt she had no choice but to hold him in contempt of court.

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