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Going to Court: Five Tips to Help You Succeed

on May 18, 2017 in Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce

Divorce is a stressful and challenging time in any person’s life.  Going to court for divorce proceedings tends to compound the anxiety and stress of the process.  Because of this, it is essential persons going to court be mindful of their own conduct.  Additionally, one should actively take steps to consider the choices they are making before entering the courtroom.  While proper courtroom behavior may not lead a party to prevail on any given issue, improper behavior can provide a lasting impression on the court – which could impact the court’s decisions in your case. 1.  Understand the Purpose of the Proceedings There are a few different reasons one may go to court during divorce proceedings.  Take the time to…

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Summer Parenting Plans: Frequently Asked Questions

on May 15, 2017 in Child Custody

Whether you are currently considering child custody arrangements for the first time, or are re-evaluating a child custody plan previously ordered by the court, it is a good idea to consider summer parenting time as a separate topic. For most families, summer months bring additional free time – and additional challenges for parents.  Below please find some frequently asked questions about summer child custody.  As with most things post-divorce, there is no one right way to handle summer custody arrangements.  Summer child custody is best done in the manner that best suits you and your family. How Does One Define “Summer” for Summer Custody? While technically, summer begins June 21, summer custody can be defined a few different ways.  If the…

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Documents You Should Update After Your Divorce

on May 12, 2017 in Divorce

When parties are preparing for a divorce, they need to gather, copy and organize a wide variety of financial documents.  After a divorce, it is human nature to want to put that all aside and get on with living your new life.  However, the parties are not quite done yet.  Additional paperwork must be done.  Numerous documents previously created and signed need to be updated following a divorce. Your Last Will and Testament Married couples that have a will often leave their estates to each other and their children.  It is likely no longer appropriate to have your former spouse as a beneficiary in your will.  Updating your will should be done for several reasons. Everyone wants their dying wishes…

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Divorce in the State of Maryland, Short Topic Answers – Pet Custody, Health Insurance, Child Expenses

on May 7, 2017 in Child Support, Divorce

Many topics on divorce in the state of Maryland require a lengthy explanation, often covering several pages.  This collection of topics are explained quickly and with relatively short answers.  As always, refer questions to your family law attorney and follow his or her advice.  These issues are not simple and this post is designed to quickly provide basic answers, and are not intended to reflect legal advice in your specific case. Pets In some marriages, the parties view their “fur babies” as their children.  The parties often become extremely attached to their pets, which causes strife during divorce proceedings.  However, despite the parties’ feelings, courts do not view pets the same as children.  The process for deciding “pet custody” differs…

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Conscious Uncoupling: Making a Deliberate Decision about the Tone of Your Divorce

on May 5, 2017 in Divorce

Setting the Tone for Your Divorce Divorce is a complicated time, and it is not uncommon for parties to feel emotions ranging from anger to grief to elation to relief – sometimes in rapid succession.  When it comes to the emotional roller coaster, everyone has their own divorce, in their own way, with their own feelings – however conflicted or nonsensical they may appear at the time. By and large, you can’t control the facts and circumstances that have led you to the point of considering a divorce – or, depending on your case, the facts and circumstances that led your spouse to decide to pursue a divorce.  You do, however, have a certain amount of control in deciding the…

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Parenting Plans: A Divorce Tool to Help Your Family

on Apr 29, 2017 in Divorce

The decision to divorce and the process of going through a divorce are very emotional and can be traumatic.  Further, these feelings are often amplified when the divorce involves children. Uncertainty is the cause of much of the fear and tension created by a divorce.  Any disputes will ultimately be resolved by the court in a process that may feel cold and impersonal.  However, the process does not have to be a winner take all fight.  The courts encourage compromise and agreement on every aspect of the divorce process, whenever possible.  Property and other financial issues are often first thought of as areas for compromise.  However, child custody and parenting time can also be resolved if the parties are willing…

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Neutral Third Parties and Educational Seminar in Child Custody Determinations in the State of Maryland

on Apr 27, 2017 in Child Custody, Divorce

In cases where the parties are involved in a divorce including children and cannot agree on issues of parenting time, the court will resolve those issues.  Courts may order a custody evaluation and appoint neutral third party representatives when custody is disputed and contentious.  Child custody evaluators and third party child advocates can help judges make decisions about appropriate solutions regarding parenting time Custody Evaluation During a divorce proceeding involving child custody, a court may order a child custody evaluation.  Child custody evaluators are considered neutral court representatives.  The purpose of the evaluation is to help the judge understand the best interests of the child.  If the judge finds a custody evaluation is appropriate, typically the court orders one at the…

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Testifying in Your Divorce Hearing: Some Things You Should Know

on Apr 22, 2017 in Divorce

When the parties cannot reach agreement in a divorce proceeding, the matter will go to trial.  During the trial, the parties will present evidence through testifying witnesses, including the parties.  Testimony presented during the trial is the judge’s best, and likely only opportunity to observe the demeanor and sincerity of the parties. The Judge Will Always Be Watching Even when you are not on the stand testifying, the judge will be watching your behavior.  Do not react to the testimony of any opposing witnesses by rolling your eyes, making inappropriate gestures, or expressing your negative feelings in other ways.  You may hear evidence you do not agree with or you feel may be damaging to your case.  That is the job…

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Out of State Child Custody in Maryland – Frequently Asked Questions

on Apr 20, 2017 in Divorce

Child custody cases involving parties or children that are outside the state of Maryland can be confusing.  What court has jurisdiction over the child custody dispute and any matters arising in the future?  Maryland law resolves these issues, including implementation of the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). What is the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)? The Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) applies in all states as well as the District of Columbia.  The Act prevents one parent from moving a child to another state for the purpose of relitigating child custody issues in that state’s court system.  This means that if both parents and the child reside in the state of Maryland and a Maryland…

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Awarding the Family Home in the State of Maryland

on Apr 16, 2017 in Divorce

In a divorce proceeding, courts encourage resolution over litigation of the issues, including the division of the family home.  Consequently, only where the parties are unable to resolve an issue, the court will do so after a trial. If necessary, the court will divide the marital assets of the parties at trial.  In the state of Maryland, property division is not necessarily done evenly, however, it is done equitably.  Of course, the division of marital property includes the family home, often the most valuable asset a married couple owns.  In determining division of marital property, a Maryland court follows Maryland statute section 8-205 of the Maryland Family Law code.  The statute gives the court broad discretion in determining the award…

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