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When a Friend Divorces

on Aug 15, 2017 in Divorce

When a friend divorces, it is natural to want to help.  Some friends offer legal advice, others compare their divorce to their friend’s divorce.  Most friends do these things because they just want to help.  But legal advice is one of the last things divorcing couples need from non-attorneys.  Every divorce is different.  Every divorce has facts lawyers find significant, while the average person in the public, whether they themselves have divorced or not, might not find those same facts relevant.  Consequently, it is best to keep legal opinions to oneself.  While practicing law without a license is ill advised, there are several things friends can do to help.   If you are the one divorcing, keep this list of…

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Keys to Testifying In Your Divorce Trial

on Aug 12, 2017 in Divorce

Not every divorce is resolved through negotiation.  Sometimes, divorces go to trial.  The idea of testifying often causes anxiety and concern.  It is likely that you have never testified in court before.  Knowing what to expect can ease anxiety.  The court will place you under oath.  You will be questioned by your attorney, known as direct examination.  Then you will be questioned by the other attorney, known as cross-examination.  Direct and cross examination goes back and forth for however many rounds it takes to fully document the issues on the record.  Here are other things to know and do to lessen anxiety. Work Closely With Your Attorney This is the most important piece of advice in any divorce.  Your attorney…

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Some Keys To A Financially Smart Divorce

on Aug 10, 2017 in Divorce

Divorces are expensive.  Division of property, child support payments, alimony payments and attorney fees are some of the expenses in a divorce.  Below are some steps minimizing those expenses. Be Prepared and Organized Attorneys need information and documentation to prepare your divorce.  Gather all information and documents on your own, without the help of your attorney.  When your attorney asks for something, provide it as soon as possible.  As a general rule, if an attorney asks for something, it's because they need it to represent your best interests. Documentation required often includes: bank accounts (checking and savings), retirement accounts, vehicle titles, property deeds, and investment accounts. Tracking down documents does not require a law degree or other legal training.  Doing…

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Collaborative Law: A Different Way to Divorce

on Aug 6, 2017 in Divorce

Collaborative law provides a means of divorce very different for traditional divorce.  While collaborative law is not for every divorcing couple, many couples find collaborative law suits their specific situation. What is Collaborative Law? As the term suggests, collaborative law relies on the collaboration of the parties, achieving a desired legal result without litigation.  While court proceedings are inherently adversarial, collaborative law occurs in conference rooms, not courtrooms. How Collaborative Law Works in a Divorce In a collaborative divorce proceeding, the parties each retain their own attorney specifically trained in effective collaborative law strategies and experienced in divorce law.  The attorneys, along with their clients, meet several times to discuss as a group the following topics: Areas of agreement; Areas…

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FAQ: Spousal Maintenance and Modification

on Aug 2, 2017 in Divorce

What is spousal maintenance? Spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, is a payment made by one spouse or former spouse to the other during or after a divorce proceeding. Is There a Formula for Calculating Spousal Maintenance? Courts do not use a formula when ordering maintenance.  The court determines the amount of spousal maintenance, if any, and how long the payments will last using a number of factors. My Spouse Committed Adultery.  Can I Be Ordered to Pay Maintenance? Yes, courts can order parties to pay alimony even if his or her spouse committed adultery.  Courts consider bad behavior such as adultery when awarding alimony.  However, it is one factor, not a deciding factor. What Factors Does the Court Consider?…

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Stepparent Adoptions in the State of Maryland

on Jul 30, 2017 in Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce

Stepparent adoptions in Maryland occur frequently in “blended families.”  The term “blended family” means a marriage after a divorce or other relationship that produces a child.   The non-biological parent, or stepparent, adopts a spouse’s child from the previous relationship.  In a stepparent adoption, the stepparent assumes both legal and financial responsibility for a spouse’s children.  Further, the non-custodial parent no longer has any parenting responsibilities or rights. Circumstances and Requirements for Stepparent Adoption in Maryland Many circumstances lead to families pursuing stepparent adoption.  In some cases, a mother remarries and her new husband wants to adopt her child or children.  Similarly, a father remarries and his new wife wants to adopt his child or children.  In other cases, same-sex marriages…

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Divorcing? Seven Behaviors to Avoid

on Jul 25, 2017 in Divorce

If you are looking for a divorce that is long and drawn out, expensive, and painful, this blog post is not for you.  If, on the other hand, you seek resolution of your divorce with as little conflict as possible, here is a list of behaviors you should avoid.  Most people divorce only once or twice in a lifetime.  As family law attorneys, we routinely see behavioral choices that lead to more conflict, more strife, and, in some cases, a less favorable resolution. Retail Therapy Spending money in response to a pending divorce may seem like a good idea.  However, spending money – particularly on large and needless purchases, is not productive while your divorce is pending.  As a practical…

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Parenting Planning: Back to School

on Jul 21, 2017 in Child Support, Divorce

Parenting Plans and Parenting Planning The end of July is almost here, which means school is right around the corner. Some families have kids in sports that may begin practices before school even begins. As the summer winds down, it is a good idea to take a look at the upcoming school year and start making plans. “Parenting plans” come in many forms, some quite detailed, and others more broad based. This depends on the lawyers, the court, and the preferences of the parents. At a minimum, parenting plans define “who has the child when.” The purpose of this post is not to discuss the fundamentals of an original parenting plan. More on that can be found in this blog…

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Dividing Complex Assets in a Divorce

on Jul 17, 2017 in Divorce

In a Maryland divorce, courts divide property “fairly”, not necessarily equally.  This division process can quickly become extremely complicated.  This is particularly true when the assets are more complex than a typical bank account.  Often these assets, for example, include stock options, investment property, intellectual property, a business, professional practice or retirement assets.  However, dividing those complex assets present their own challenges. Often, courts accept a valuation if the parties agree on the value of an asset.  However, when the parties do not agree on a value for an asset, experts must determine the value.  Depending on the complex asset, appropriate experts include accountants, pension valuators,  and business appraisers.  Both parties may hire experts to provide support for their respective…

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Divorce Decree Modification

on Jul 13, 2017 in Divorce

After the parties sign a divorce agreement, or the court enters a judgment, changing the terms of the divorce is difficult.  However, circumstances do exist which justify a motion seeking modification of the decree or filing an appeal.  If you wish to appeal a court’s decision, consulting with a family law attorney is critical.  Time limitations limit your right to appeal.  Motions to modify a divorce decree, on the other hand, can be filed with the court at any time. Circumstances exist where one may modify the terms of divorce. However, modification of a decree is never guaranteed. Rather, courts consider modification requests under limited circumstances. Errors by the Court or the Attorneys in the Case Mistakes happen, even in court. …

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