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Rockville MD Divorce Law Blog

Navigating the process of a high-asset divorce

Many Maryland couples struggle with their marriages. Unfortunately, the issues that crop up - such as finances, infidelity or clashing personalities - often lead to divorce. While a divorce can eventually lead to freedom for those trapped in unhappy marriages, the divorce process can be much more stressful than the actual marriage. Many couples refuse to negotiate, and the result can be a nasty court battle. But no matter what happens, the right lawyer will fight for your rights every step of the way.

While one party may want to get the divorce process over with as soon as possible, the other party may refuse to negotiate or even talk to the other spouse out of spite. This can lead to a long, drawn-out divorce that does nothing but waste money and time. It's always better when both parties are willing to negotiate and settle a dispute out of court, but when that's not possible, an experienced family law attorney will be able to effectively present your case in front of a judge.

What happens to retirement plans in a high asset divorce?

Some Maryland residents spend their entire career - several decades or longer - saving for retirement. By the time they retire, they may have amassed a large sum of money - perhaps millions of dollars. But with the recent trend toward divorce late in life, this money may not be totally secure. Retirement plans such as pensions, stocks and 401(k)s are considered assets in a divorce, so these accounts are subject to division. This means that the other spouse may be able to claim his or her fair share should the marriage end. Read on to find out more about what happens to retirement plans in a high asset divorce.

Assets are split based on state law. Retirement plans are split the same as any other asset. In Maryland, assets are split equitably, so the judge will make a determination based on what he or she is fair. It may not be a 50-50 split. In fact, if both spouses are fairly financially secure or have similar amounts of money in their retirement plans, then the plans may not even need to be divided.

Who keeps the engagement ring in a property division dispute?

Maryland has equitable distribution laws in place for couples looking to divide assets in a divorce. But, the laws are not so straightforward when it comes to deciding who keeps the engagement ring in the event that the couple splits before marriage. Many men spend thousands of dollars on the perfect ring when it comes time to propose, so it would only seem fair that they would be able to keep it should the relationship go sour. While the ring went to the "innocent" person in the past, modern law has changed dramatically and property division is based on the situation.

The outcome depends on the situation as well as the state. For example, the ring may have been given as a gift, particularly if it was given on a birthday, Christmas, Valentine's Day or other holiday, and therefore should not be returned to the giver. There is also the fault approach, which means that the person who breaks off the engagement loses possession of the ring. In the no-fault situation, the ring is considered conditional and must be given back to the giver if the marriage does not occur. In many cases, the situation is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. In most cases, however, the no-fault approach is used.

Creating an accurate child support plan through diligence

Maryland uses a calculator and formula to determine the amount of money that non-custodial parents must pay. However, disputes arise when the support payment causes a financial burden. Most non-custodial parents are obligated to pay child support, but this can be problematic when they are suffering from job loss, bankruptcy or a job with irregular income. But, by thoroughly assessing one's economic and employment situations, it's possible to reach an agreement that is favorable for both sides.

Not everyone earns a regular paycheck. Some people own their own businesses and therefore cannot predict their income. Some work as independent contractors or freelancers and may make a lot of money in a short period of time and then be without work for several months or longer. It's important to create a child support agreement that takes these situations into consideration. It's also crucial that the agreement include expenses such as medical bills, college tuition and other irregular situations.

Does child support extend to college tuition and expenses?

Many Maryland parents count down the days until their child turns 18 and legally becomes an adult - especially non-custodial parents who are paying child support. These parents may wrongfully assume that their responsibility ends at age 18, but in reality they may be paying child support for at least another four years. Why? Because some states mandate that parents pay for their child's college tuition and expenses. Although Maryland is not one of those states, you might still be on the hook for your son's or daughter's college tuition.

Future college expenses are often discussed during the divorce process. The details are ironed out to avoid a child support dispute later on down the road. But, if there is no agreement in place, then it may be up to the judge to determine what is fair for both parents as well as the child.

Residency requirements for filing for divorce

In order to end a troubled marriage, a person may move to another state and attempt to file for divorce there. However, filing for divorce is not as easy as showing up at a random courthouse. With just a few exceptions, a person must be a resident of the state in which they are filing for divorce. Residency requirements vary by state and range from six weeks to a year. In Maryland, the requirement is one year.

For most couples, the residency requirement is simple to understand. But, in a high asset divorce, determining residency can be challenging, as a couple may have homes all throughout the state, or even in multiple states. They might travel to each of these homes several times a year, so which one is considered their legal residence?

How MD workers avoid child support wage garnishments

When a Maryland struggling single parent is unable to get timely child support payments from an ex, he or she may contact the local child support agency to seek wage garnishment. While this may work for some parents, many paying parents find ways to receive income without having wages garnished. They do this by becoming independent contractors, which means they are either paid cash for their services or as a 1099 employer, which means they are considered self-employed and therefore pay their own taxes. This is an issue that has no doubt affected many Maryland parents who rely on child support to get by.

Many employers have seen instances of new employees quitting after the first paycheck once they notice that their wages are being garnished. These employers later find that the employees have gone on to become independent contractors. This type of worker misclassification is common among the service and construction industries. It does not only affect child support, but taxes and unemployment paid to the state as well. In addition, employers get out of paying workers' compensation and overtime. It is an especially huge problem in Texas and the state is looking for ways to fix this situation.

A personal approach for even the most complex high asset divorce

Divorce is never easy, even when it's a mutually agreed-upon decision. Even in the simplest divorce, there are strong emotions and asset division issues to contend with. In high asset divorces, there are often retirement plans, real estate, business assets, expensive vehicles and other complex issues to deal with. No matter what you own, no two divorces are the same, which is why a personalized approach is key.

It's not uncommon for you to feel confused and out of control once you and your spouse discuss divorce. Divorce means the end of a marriage and it can be a highly emotional experience. To many individuals, a divorce symbolizes failure and that can be a difficult emotion to deal with. On top of that, a divorce encompasses many elements, especially if there are children involved. It's important to have a professional on your side who understands these private matters.

What is and isn't considered alimony for tax purposes?

When many Maryland couples divorce, one party is forced to pay spousal support to the other. This is to even things out financially when the marriage ends, especially if one spouse earns a lot more than the other. However, figuring out what constitutes alimony is not as easy as one would think. While some people write a check directly to their former spouse every month, others make mortgage or life insurance payments that could qualify as alimony for income tax purposes. Read on to find out what is considered alimony.

After a divorce, one spouse may be responsible for paying some bills. However, not all of these payments are considered alimony. For example, child support is not alimony and is therefore not tax deductible. Any non-cash settlements are also not classified as spousal support. Any money the payer spends on maintaining his or her own property is also not considered alimony.

Ex not paying child support? Garnish Social Security benefits

As many Maryland parents can attest, raising a child is a lot of hard work. Caring for one also takes a lot of money and it can be difficult for a single parent to pay for all of the expenses involved. If the parent works outside the home, there are day care expenses, as well as medical bills, food, clothing, shelter and other daily expenses. It can be especially challenging when the child's father or mother refuses to pay child support. Many may not know that if the other parent is receiving certain Social Security benefits, this income can be garnished and given to the custodial parent for child support. Read on to learn more about this process.

Supplemental Security Income is a type of welfare benefit based on one's income and disability and is therefore not an earned benefit. This means that if a person is earning this type of income, it cannot be garnished for child support. However, if the parent is receiving disability, survivor or retirement benefits, those are all fair game. The first step is to go to court and let the judge know that the other parent is delinquent on payments. The judge will issue an order to withhold the support payments, which should be given to the local Social Security office.

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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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