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Rockville MD Divorce Law Blog

Guidelines for property division in a Maryland divorce

Most people have heard the saying "All's fair in love and war." While those who have been through a divorce may have experienced both love and war, very few will say that they got their fair share. However, there are some states - including Maryland - that focus on equitable distribution in a divorce. This means that while the assets may not be evenly divided, they will be split fairly.

In order for equitable property division to exist, it is important to first perform an inventory of all marital assets and determine their value. This includes not only bank accounts, homes, property, cars and heirlooms, but also intangible assets, such as stocks, bonds, 401(k)s and retirement accounts. If either spouse owns a company, business assets will also need to be divided. Anything acquired before the marriage remains the property of each individual spouse and will not be split in the divorce.

Lesbian couple in child custody dispute after splitting up

Maryland is one of 19 states that has legalized gay marriage. This number continues to grow, but since most states don't recognize same-sex marriage, there are no clear-cut laws when it comes to granting child custody when such a couple splits up. A lot of progress still needs to be made in regards to gay and lesbian rights, and unfortunately this affects the children involved in these disputes. For instance, a recent report noted that a lesbian couple is involved in a child custody dispute after splitting up.

In this case the baby was born to the couple through assisted reproduction. However, before the baby was born the couple split. One of the women gave birth to the baby and stopped speaking with the other woman. The other woman now wants legal custody of the child.

In some cases, alimony amount not set in stone

When Maryland couples divorce, one party may be forced to pay the other spousal support. In most cases, this alimony is paid until either party dies or until the receiver remarries. But what happens if the payer becomes unemployed or experiences a decrease in income? Can the payments be modified, at least for a temporary amount of time?

These questions are difficult to answer because there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to alimony. The rules vary from state to state and each situation is scrutinized carefully to determine if any changes should be made to the payment amount.

Asset division tricky when one spouse wants to buy a new home

Maryland couples who are in the process of splitting up will find property division to be quite complicated - especially when the marital home is involved, which it almost always is. This is especially true if the couple is still legally married and one of the parties wants to buy a new home. It's not always feasible to wait until the divorce is finalized before applying for a mortgage on a new home. While there are ways to get around this, the process of asset division can be challenging because there are many things to keep in mind.

When one person buys a new home while still legally married, the other party will have to consent to the transaction. The person buying the new house will still be legally tied to the old home unless there is a quit claim deed in place. The party not purchasing the home must sign this and allow the other person to buy the second home.

Child custody matters grow frightening when parents abduct kids

When their parents go through divorce, Rockville kids are sometimes caught in the middle of two emotionally-charged factions. While they may prefer to stay with one parent or in one household, the kids are often forced to split their time between their parents' two homes based on the child custody and visitation schedules their parents establish. For most families these schedules are necessary to keep the relative peace. For others, they are unworkable arrangements that force parents to do rash things.

According to one recent news story, around three-quarters of child abduction cases involve one of the abducted child's parents. This means that either the child's mom or dad refused to return the child based on a custody schedule or that he or she took the child at a time when the other parent was to have custody. In extreme cases parents take their kids and leave the country, leading to stories of international abduction, but many parents simply want more time with their kids and believe that it is their right to do so.

Property division more complex in subsequent divorces

When Maryland couples marry early on in life, say, in their 20s, they typically do not have much in terms of assets. They might be fresh out of college and just starting a career. However, when people divorce and get married again in their 40s, 50s or beyond, there is usually more at stake should that marriage also end in divorce. Because of this, it is important for anyone considering a second, third or subsequent marriage to take stock of their assets, and look into a prenuptial agreement.

As people get older, they are likely to accumulate more assets, such as homes, retirement accounts, pensions, stocks and bonds. Complicating this further is the fact that many couples come into marriages with children and even grandchildren. In the event of a divorce, this can make property division quite complicated without some form of legal agreement.

When child support modification may be needed

Raising a child can be costly for many Maryland parents. It is often financially impossible for one parent to care for a child alone, which is why states go to great lengths to ensure that non-custodial parents are fulfilling their child support obligations. Nonetheless, what happens if a parent becomes unemployed for an extended period of time and cannot pay the monthly amount? Alternatively, what if the parent gets a better-paying job or a sizable raise; can the custodial parent request a child support increase? These are changes in circumstances that can be addressed in a child support agreement modification.

In life, nothing is certain. Circumstances may change for either party, and these changes may warrant a change in the current child support amount. However, the parent requesting the modification must be able to justify it. In addition, the situation warranting the justification must be permanent or at least substantial. For example, a permanent disability limiting one's ability to work and earn money would be justifiable, but a layoff might not.

Can gay couples seek alimony after divorce?

When heterosexual couples from Maryland divorce, one party typically has the right to seek spousal support from the other partner so that the person with the lower income can maintain the standard of living he or she enjoyed while married. But what about same-sex couples who are legally married? If their marriage turns sour, do they have the right to seek alimony from the partner with the higher income?

Alimony laws vary by state. Nineteen states now recognize gay marriage and that number is continuing to grow. When a state allows same-sex marriage to become legal, corresponding laws that take effect in a divorce - such as child support, child custody and alimony - may also be updated.

Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas in for a high asset divorce

Celebrity divorces are nothing new for most Maryland movie fans. However, many may be shocked by the recent divorce filing by Melanie Griffith. She is seeking a divorce from Antonio Banderas, her husband of 18 years. Although the split is reportedly amicable, with $50 million in assets at stake this has the potential to become a complicated high asset divorce.

Banderas and Griffith, who met on a movie set in 1995, are no strangers to divorce. Banderas was married once before, while Griffith has been divorced three previous times - twice from actor Don Johnson. Griffith stated "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for this divorce. She is seeking sole physical custody of their only child together, a daughter who turns 18 in September. In addition, she is asking for child support and alimony.

Man jailed for failure to pay permanent alimony

After a Maryland divorce, spousal support is often awarded to the spouse with lower income. Most parties wish they could ignore alimony altogether - who willingly wants to pay money to their ex-spouse on a regular basis? But, the reality is that failure to pay alimony can result in serious penalties. The duty to pay it is taken very seriously in some cases - so much so that sometimes people are jailed for non-payment. That was the case for a man who was jailed for refusing to pay $2,000 a week in permanent alimony to his ex-wife.

This amounts to $104,000 a year, with the order beginning January 1, 2012. The man was jailed for eight weeks later that year for failing to make payments. He was released and his case was moved for an appeal.

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Gaithersburg Divorce Lawyers Video

http://www.mckeonlawfirm.com 202-742-1800 The McKeon Law Firm handles marital property issues in divorce. The attorneys are experienced in business valuation & tracing assets. Contact us in Gaithersburg, Maryland for property division matters.

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