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Rockville MD Divorce Law Blog

What are unmarried Maryland fathers' child custody rights?

In the past, Maryland couples often waited until marriage to start their families. Today, however, with the divorce rate hovering around 50 percent, many couples are delaying marriage or even foregoing it altogether. Nonetheless, many of these couples are having children out of wedlock, which can lead to child custody disputes, should the relationship end. Although the mothers primarily received custody in the past, a growing number of fathers are actively seeking custody and want to understand their legal rights.

First of all, paternity needs to be established. When the man is unmarried, he can be considered the father if he is listed on the birth certificate, has provided a written statement acknowledging he is the father or has been ordered by the court to provide child support.

A high asset divorce is complicated; don't do it alone

Maryland couples who have been through a divorce can attest that the process can be very expensive. In order to save as much money as possible, some couples may try to settle everything without help from a lawyer.

In fact, more than 70 percent of the matters related to divorce are handled by the couples themselves, who choose to act as their own legal representative. While some tasks, such as filing paperwork, can be done without the help of a legal professional, a couple should never attempt complex asset division alone, especially in the event of a high asset divorce.

Property division: What will happen to my business in a divorce?

More and more people are quitting corporate America and becoming their own bosses. While this may seem like the dream life for many Maryland residents, starting a business can be a risky venture. With no regular paycheck to count on, many entrepreneurs work 80-hour weeks and make many sacrifices to keep their businesses afloat. So when their marriages fail, these entrepreneurs may worry about what will become of their business, especially if it is profitable. Will they have to split it 50/50 and have their ex-spouse as a business partner for eternity?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question when property division is involved. For the most part, anything acquired before the marriage is considered separate property. However, a business started before the marriage may be sustained by the marriage and therefore be considered marital property.

Working toward the best solution in a child custody dispute

A Maryland divorce is often filled with emotion and drama, especially if children are involved. Both spouses fight over child custody and argue over who is the better parent. The parents focus on what they want rather than tend to the best interests of the child. Unlike other assets, it's difficult to split a child, which is why it is important to have a family law attorney who understands your situation and helps you work with your spouse toward a fair outcome.

Child custody issues can be complicated and almost impossible for parents to settle on their own. There are many legal aspects involved, which is why parents should consider all the resources, knowledge and experience a family law attorney has to offer. For example, lawyers can help draft parenting plans and visitation agreements. If a parent wants to move out of state, modifications can be requested. Lawyers can also turn to litigation to enforce agreements. Not only do they fight for the parents' rights, but also for the rights of grandparents and even the children themselves.

What qualifies as 'income' factored into child support payments?

When many Maryland residents think of income, they may think solely of the money they receive from their jobs. This is typically in the form of a weekly, biweekly or monthly paycheck. However, when a parent must make child support payments, the courts consider just about any type of money received to be included in his or her actual income amount. According to General Assembly of Maryland, income is a broad term that encompasses a variety of monetary sources.

Besides the obvious - salaries and wages - income also includes job-related income such as commissions and bonuses. If the parent is disabled, injured or unemployed, any money that they receive from state or federal sources - such as disability insurance, workers' compensation, unemployment and Social Security - is counted. If the parent has income or interest from retirement accounts - such as pensions, trusts and annuities - this is included in the actual income as well.

How Maryland parents can modify a child support order

When Maryland parents divorce or split up, one of them typically pays child support to the other. This monthly amount is based on state guidelines as well as the noncustodial parent's income. Sometimes after the court issues the order, though, drastic life changes occur. These situations can prevent a parent from paying the full child support amount on a timely basis. That is why a modification may be sought.

There are several reasons why a court may consider a change in the order. These include a substantial change in the child's living situation or in a parent's income, job status or health. For example, job loss or disability may qualify as valid reasons. If the child is no longer living with the custodial parent, then that may be another good reason to modify the support order.

Why you should consider lump sum alimony

Unfortunately, divorce comes with many financial consequences, including spousal support. It is rare to find a divorced Maryland man or woman who enjoys paying alimony to an ex-spouse. However, it is an obligation often ordered by the court, especially if one spouse is financially unable to support himself or herself for a temporary period. Although most alimony payments are made on a monthly basis, there is the option to pay it all in one lump sum. Is this something you should consider?

If you have the money to do so, then it is recommended that you pay your ex-spouse the alimony in one lump sum payment. Why? Because by doing so, you don't have to be reminded - or angered - every month. You can pay it all at once and be done with it. If you have no children together, you'll be rid of your spouse forever and you can easily move on with your life.

What to consider before filing for a high asset divorce

While marriage can be hard, getting divorced is even harder. When many Maryland couples get divorced, they end up fighting over all the assets accumulated throughout the marriage. Besides asset division, there are many aspects involved in a high asset divorce, especially if the couple has been together for many years. Those looking to call it quits may want to consider the following before filing for divorce - and possibly regretting the decision.

A divorce is something that should not be taken lightly. It can emotionally and financially affect a person for many years. Therefore, couples should do whatever possible to make their marriages work. This may including speaking with a pastor or marriage counselor to get things back on track. The couple should also determine what caused the marriage to go wrong and whether or not this issue is worth fighting about.

Can I relocate for my new job if I have joint custody?

After a divorce Maryland parents may find themselves in a difficult situation: sharing custody of their children but offered the job of their dreams in another state. What's a parent to do in this type of situation? You may be wondering if you are allowed to take the job even though it would cause a huge child custody dispute. For the most part, you would be allowed by the courts to make the move if the other parent agrees.

Of course, it can be challenging to co-parent when the parents are living in another state. However, there are good reasons why the court would allow a parent to move. Besides a job offer, the parent can move to be closer to family, continue education or live in an area with a more reasonable cost of living. However, if the sole reason for the move is to retaliate against the other parent, then the court will not allow it.

Determining alimony payments fairly after a divorce

Maryland couples who have been through a divorce understand the emotions and stress involved when money is at stake. These couples may have consistently fought about money while married and often find that the battle does not end when the marriage does. In a divorce, there are often issues regarding not only assets and child support, but alimony, as well. It can be upsetting for a party to be forced to make monthly payments to a former spouse, but when there is a huge disparity in incomes between the spouses, then alimony is often necessary - at least on a temporary basis. However, with proper legal representation, you can ensure that you retain your rights and are treated fairly, whether you are the payee or payor.

Even if your divorce is complex, a lawyer can accurately analyze your specific situation and ensure fairness, above all. By using documentation and realistic numbers and projections, he or she can predict future income while working toward a goal of financial security for both parties.

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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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