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Rockville MD Divorce Law Blog

Dealing with asset division, other issues through limited divorce

In many states, a couple can file for divorce for any reason at any time during the marriage. Maryland, however, is a little different. A no-fault divorce can only be achieved after one year of a mutual separation. If fault can be proven, such as cruelty or adultery, a couple can divorce right away. This is called an absolute divorce, and when a couple cannot obtain one immediately, there is an alternative: limited divorce.

A limited divorce is a legal separation; this option often raises many questions concerning property division. A limited divorce does not split marital assets or allow the couple to remarry, but it does force them to live apart and live their own lives as if they were fully divorced. If the couple is going through a rough patch and is unsure if they want to go through with a divorce, they can try a limited divorce for a trial period and see how their relationship changes. If they do proceed with a divorce, they will have had the time to organize their finances and understand what will happen to their marital property during asset division.

Factors used to determine if joint child custody is viable

In many Maryland divorce cases that involve children, one parent typically has sole custody with the other parent receiving visitation rights. However, in some instances, both parents want to share custody of the children. While the courts typically look at the best interests of the child when deciding on child custody cases, communication is also a key factor when it comes to joint custody. Both parents must be able to amicably make decisions that affect the care and upbringing of their children. Read on to learn more about the other factors used to decide if joint custody is a viable option.

Besides healthy communication, the court will consider the relationship between the child and each parent. Does the child favor one over the other? Plus, both parents must be of sound mind and body. For example, if one parent has anger management issues or suffers from depression, then he or she is not a good fit to care for children on a regular basis. Also, in order for joint custody to work, the parents need to live in close proximity to each other. It's not fair to shuttle children hours away to see the other parent several times a week. Plus, when parents live far away, this can cause disruption to a child's school and personal lives.

What are the purposes of alimony?

When Maryland couples divorce, one party may be able to receive spousal support. This is especially true if one spouse worked while the other stayed home to raise a family. Alimony may also be awarded if both spouses worked, but one earned significantly more than the other. There are two main types of alimony: rehabilitative and reimbursement. This post will discuss these alimony types and when they are awarded.

Rehabilitative alimony is the most common type of spousal support. It is given only as long as needed - which could mean just a few months or several years. It gives the recipient time to attend school and look for gainful employment. When the recipient spouse becomes able to support himself or herself, then the alimony payments can end. The court will review the person's finances from time to time to see if any adjustments are needed.

Divorcing? Keep kids out of child custody issues

Unfortunately, when some Maryland couples divorce, they involve the children way too much. They may try to get the kids to side with one parent by bashing the other parent. They may want to be the custodial parent so bad that they say hurtful things about the other parent, damaging the child's relationship with both parents in the process. The truth is that children need to be kept out of child custody issues during a divorce, and there are several reasons why.

Why a high asset divorce needs a detailed separation agreement

When Maryland couples divorce, they may look to the divorce decree to review negotiations on asset division, child support, child custody and other common divorce issues. However, many lawyers now go a step further and create separation agreements as well. A separation agreement is basically the summary of all the items that the husband and wife have discussed and negotiated on. Our law firm understands the importance of a detailed agreement, and how it is generally a must for something as complex as a high asset divorce.

The ability for the couple to negotiate is crucial. In order to negotiate, a lawyer will analyze the financial situations of both parties. This will include any business assets, stocks, pensions and homes. Once the couple discusses property division, the couple will then discuss spousal support, child support and custody, if applicable. Ideally, the separation agreement will include ways to deal with future disagreements. It may also include future life events, such as remarriage, children, relocation and retirement.

Importance of proper documentation of alimony payments

In many Maryland divorces, one spouse is awarded alimony, even though it is not a requirement. What is required, though, is keeping proper documentation regarding this form of spousal support. Although most spouses detest having to pay alimony, one benefit is that it is tax-deductible. In a messy divorce, it's not uncommon for one spouse to challenge amounts paid or received. Without proper documentation, the IRS or court could order additional alimony payments or cause the payer to lose his or her tax write-off. Read on to find out what records the payer should keep.

Each monthly payment should be thoroughly detailed in a spreadsheet or other document. It should include the amount, date paid, check number and the address the check was sent to. Include carbon copies of all checks used to pay alimony. If using cash, make sure to create a receipt and have the recipient sign it to confirm that he or she has received the amount for alimony payment.

How does a high asset divorce impact my tax liability?

When Maryland couples divorce, there are many issues regarding property division. This is especially true in the case of a wealthy dissolution. There are often multiple homes, stocks, bonds, retirement plans and much more to split up. There are often many disputes about asset division because of the tax implications involves - something that most couples don't think about. Find out how a high asset divorce can affect your tax liability.

Generally, when spouses transfer assets to each other, no taxes need to be paid. However, when you receive assets that have risen in value since you first acquired them, you are liable for the capital gains tax. This applies to real estate as well. However, if you reinvest the proceeds from the home sale within two years, you won't have to pay the capital gains tax. There are residency requirements that apply as well.

How does a pay increase after divorce affect alimony?

One of the realities that Maryland couples will likely face after divorce is that one spouse will be obligated to pay spousal support to the other. In most cases, the monthly payments will last forever - that is, until one of the spouses dies. What happens when the payor ends up with a sizable increase in income decades down the road? Is the recipient entitled to an increase in alimony?

Alimony is different from child support. It's not uncommon for custodial parents to ask for a modification in child support when the payor receives a raise. But with alimony, the guidelines are different because the money is being used to support a former spouse, not a minor child. Plus, if the increase in income occurs many years after a divorce, it's unlikely that the recipient spouse helped the paying spouse earn that money. So if a spouse receives $50,000 a year in alimony and is able to comfortably live on that amount for 10, 20 or even 30 years, there's no reason why they would suddenly need more money just because the paying spouse recently received a raise.

Who should determine asset division - my ex and I or the court?

If you live in Maryland and you and your spouse are headed for divorce, you likely have many questions about the process, especially if you've never divorced before. Depending on how long you were married, you may have accumulated many assets together. Who gets to keep what, and do you have any say in the decision? Believe it or not, you have more power over the final outcome than you may think.

Ideally, you and your ex-spouse would divorce on friendly terms and be able to discuss asset division amicably. Many couples use mediation to help settle issues such as property division and child custody. This method often allows the divorce process to move forward more quickly, and allows couples to have a say in such major issues. However, many couples are unable to effectively communicate without arguing, making mediation and negotiation useless. When this happens, the courts must step in and make decisions.

Options for enforcing child support

In many divorce cases where children are involved, one party is typically considered the custodial parent while the other pays child support. Many custodial parents rely on this source of income to get them through tough financial times. Unfortunately, many never see the payments arrive. Some parents do whatever it takes to avoid having to give up a portion of their paycheck to a former spouse. They may quit their job, move to another state - or even another country - and disappear from their child's life forever, just to avoid having to pay this monthly obligation. This can be frustrating, but there are some things that can be done to force the parent to comply.

When the noncustodial parent fails to pay child support on time, the debt builds and builds. If the parent does not inform the court of the reason why the payment is not made, they are now in contempt of court. This can lead to legal ramifications for the parent. They could be jailed and forced to give up a driver's license or professional license.

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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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