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Rockville MD Divorce Law Blog

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.

Property division case goes to the dogs - no joint custody

When Maryland couples divorce, they typically fight over assets such as bank accounts, homes, vehicles and expensive artwork. However, more and more divorces are involving pets, which tend to be treated as property under state laws, despite being treated as members of the family in many households. One recent property division case involving a dog resulted in sole custody for the ex-husband, a veterinarian.

When a couple in another state divorced, they fought over their German wirehaired pointer. Specifically, like many ex-partners, they argued over who would keep the dog. Since the 11-year-old canine is considered property and not a child, the court does not legally have to enforce joint custody. It could only be given to one party. Therefore, the court was within its rights to rule in favor of the ex-husband instead of attempting to put together some sort of shared arrangement.

When life insurance is treated like alimony

Many Maryland residents pay alimony to an ex-spouse. To most of them, alimony is unmistakable. It's a payment they give to their former spouse on a monthly basis. But to some, alimony presents itself in a different form, but may be treated differently by the court. Case in point: a life insurance policy ordered by the court after a divorce.

This is not common, but it did happen to one couple who were married for 35 years. The man was ordered to obtain a $100,000 life insurance policy with his ex-wife as beneficiary. The policy was to last for 12 years. The final divorce decree explicitly stated that the life insurance was to be treated as property division, not alimony. However, when the ex-wife remarried several years later, the man fought the order and asked that the life insurance be terminated.

Man who owes $96K in child support ordered to stop having kids

Maryland parents know that they must be able to financially support they have or they could face strict penalties from the court. In order to penalize those who do not pay child support payments as required, courts and child support agencies may garnish wages, intercept gambling winnings or even impose jail time. One Ohio man recently received an unusual punishment from the judge: no more children until he pays back the more than $96,000 that he already owes in child support.

The 35-year-old father of four is on probation for five years, due to his delinquent payments. During that time, he is not allowed to impregnate a woman. If he pays back the entire amount he owes, the judge may lift the ban.

Baby boomers face financial issues in high asset divorces

For Maryland couples, a divorce can be financially devastating at any age. However, this is especially true for baby boomers who have retired and no longer have a job to increase their income. Women often are hit the hardest because the men typically control the finances and, after decades of marriage, things can get tricky when trying to split property due to all the assets accumulated. Fortunately, there are ways to survive after a high asset divorce during retirement.

Finances get hit hard, which is why it's important for those going through a divorce to know their credit score as well as all the loans for which they are responsible. In addition, having a savings account is crucial in order to pay for expenses after a divorce. Social Security benefits can help greatly, if either spouse is eligible.

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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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