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Annapolis Divorce Law Blog

Maryland residents may not group pets with property division

Throughout the course of a marriage, many Maryland residents have likely collected a considerable amount of property. As a result, if the marriage comes to an end, property division may be a difficult process. This process may be a greater point of contention if pets are involved. Because many individuals do not look at their pets as property, they may want to determine the best course of action in determining post-divorce ownership.

A major aspect to consider when determining such ownership is who is more capable of caring for the pet. Pets often need space for exercise, time and attention, as well as having their daily needs met. Because pets require considerable care, financial aspects may also come into play. If one party is unable to provide for the pet as necessary, it may be unlikely that the individual will be able to maintain ownership.

Maryland residents may want to consider their divorce options

Though many Maryland residents may find that deciding to go through with divorce is a big decision, they may also want to remember that the divorce process encompasses numerous other decisions that will need to be made. Therefore, individuals may want to ensure that they are making the right decisions for them and their circumstances. Considering the process and how each decision will affect their futures, individuals may be less likely to make divorce mistakes.

One of the first big decisions to make is what type of process to use. Among mediation, collaborative and negotiation proceedings, parties have options to consider. Due to these options, individuals may be able to find the course of action that leads to the least amount of stress and time.

Maryland residents may find property division info helpful

When Maryland couples go through divorce, one of their main concerns may center around finances and property ownership after the separation. These concerns are understandable as lifestyles can be substantially upended by divorce. Therefore, individuals may want to understand more about the property division process and how steps can be taken to maintain ownership of assets. 

A step that all individuals may benefit from considering is a prenuptial agreement. Parties may lay out how they wish property to be divided in the event of a divorce, which can be a prudent form of asset protection. Obviously this document is created before marriage, so individuals who married without creating this agreement may feel at a loss.

Best interests of the child essential when divorce involves kids

When people get divorced in Maryland, the challenges they face are often complex and long-lasting. This is particularly true for people with shared children. Different forms of joint parenting exist based on factors such as whether or not both parents can get along, the children's ages and the parents geographical proximity. However, in each situation, the decision that the parents make will impact the kids in the areas of self-esteem, attitude and behavior. This is why it is essential to make decisions based on the best interests of the child.

When trying to decide on a co-parenting situation, it is wise for two people to focus on how they can make their children's lives better following divorce compared with before divorce. They may also wish to concentrate on how they can increase the kids' sense of self-esteem, well-being and security. It is also important for them to determine which home environment will be best for the kids, including for what percentage of each year, month, week and/or day. The children might benefit from the parent's willingness to be flexible as the children get older and reach new life stages as well.

Property division can be complicated during divorce

Getting divorced can be overwhelming both emotionally and financially. The process can be especially stressful for people with high-value assets or many assets that must be taken into consideration. Several tips may help people protect their interests when dealing with property division during a divorce proceeding in Maryland.

Separate property cannot be divided between two people in a marriage, while community property is to be divided between both parties. One party might claim that particular assets solely belong to him or her, but it is wise for the other party to explore whether or not this claim is valid. One may wish to trace the transformations and history of assets so that ownership issues may be resolved. For instance, one item may have been sold for cash, and this cash might have gone to purchasing a different item.

Hidden assets are more common than you think in property division

So, you are either contemplating divorce or you have already decided to go through it. Either way, it is a big decision in your life that is going to impact your future, and there is no guarantee it is going to be a smooth ride. This is particularly true if you have marital assets that must go through the process of property division here in Maryland.

Most couples want to assume that they know everything there is to know about their soon-to-be ex-spouse and the assets that they share. However, this is not always the case. In fact, a large majority of marriages have some level of hidden assets.

Same-sex marriage decision imminent from Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the question of same-sex marriage is due within the new few weeks, and if past practice is any indication of their behavior, it is likely that it will be among the last decisions released this term.

How they decide the case could either greatly resolve the question of same-sex marriage throughout the entire country, or they could more narrowly tailor their decision in a way that limits the scope and potentially could add further confusion and complexity.

Child Custody and visitation rights of unmarried fathers

Unmarried fathers in Maryland are at a disadvantage because they do not automatically have parental rights. To be part of their children's lives, unmarried fathers have to petition family courts to be recognized as legal parents and have child custody rights. In cases where the mother does not dispute paternity, both parents can simply sign and file a paternity acknowledgement with the court or state agency. This can be done when the baby is born or at a later stage.

However, if the mother of the child disputes a father's parental rights, paternity has to be legally established through DNA testing. Upon establishing paternity, a court order will give the father custody rights such as visitation rights. A parenting plan can then be negotiated, and it would commonly include details such as who would have primary custody and a visitation schedule for the other parent. Parents will also have to agree on who will be responsible for making decisions about the education, religion and health care of the child. Parents may also be proactive and include directives on how modifications to the parenting plan would be handled.

Many view child support laws as unfair, survey says

A recent study looks at the ways in which individuals view current standards in the calculation of child support. The research was conducted in order to provide lawmakers with information needed to look into whether changes are called for within the way that child support is handled in Maryland and across the nation. The findings suggest that many people share an idea of how these support payments should be determined, but that the current system is not in line with those beliefs.

Specifically, researchers found that many people feel strongly that child support payments should take into account the income of the custodial parent, which is usually the mother. In some states, only the non-custodial parent's income is taken into consideration when structuring support payments. This can lead to a scenario in which one parent is unduly burdened, when the other is perfectly capable to providing for the shared child to a greater degree.

Some issues are often unanticipated in property division

Divorcing couples in Maryland and elsewhere will likely be anticipating the issues that are commonly associated with the end of a relationship. Maryland is an equitable distribution state, which allows divorcing couples to come up with fair -- court approved -- ways in which their assets will be divided. A lot of attention will be paid to determine who is to get what, and divorcing couples may also be aware that incomes, inheritances and retirement funds need addressing in the property division process.

However, these matters, combined with the many decisions that have to be made about child custody, parenting plans and visitation, may be overwhelming, and some important issues may go unaddressed. It is not uncommon for the parent who will keep the children to assume responsibility for the family home, without considering the ongoing expenses of maintaining such a property. The future value of the home will be unknown; therefore, a retirement fund could prove to be more beneficial.

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