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Baltimore Family Law Blog

People may use gig work to evade child support

Gig work is becoming increasingly popular in Maryland. Many people are turning to online platforms to supplement their incomes or to serve as their sole incomes. While the gig economy has provided an alternative means for people to earn a living, some people who are trying to evade their child support obligations are using gig work to their advantage.

In a majority of child support cases, the payments are collected through withholding orders. These orders direct employers to take out the amounts of the court-ordered child support and to send them to the state for the payment of the obligations. Workers who perform contract work within the gig economy may be harder to track, however, and states may have trouble finding where they are working. In some cases, the workers will have moved on to other jobs by the time the state uncovers the platforms through which they previously obtained work.

Retired couples can face their own divorce challenges

For older couples in Maryland and across the United States, retirement age is not necessarily just a time to leave the workplace and enjoy some relaxing time with the family. For an increasing number of couples over the age of 50, divorce is accompanying retirement. The divorce rate for couples over 50 has escalated by 50 percent over the last 20 years and remains on an upward trend, even while the overall rate of divorce for American couples has declined. One out of every four couples decides to divorce after 50.

There are specific concerns surrounding divorce for couples over the age of 50, including those with a significant amount of assets. Retirement planning, asset division and other financial matters can be quite complicated for couples who divorce near or after retirement. This is especially true when the divorce means the end of a long-time relationship accompanied by extensive financial entanglements and shared accounts. These assets may include everything from Social Security benefits to 401(k) plans and investments.

Why same-sex divorce can be complicated

Same-sex couples in Maryland and elsewhere won the right to marry in all 50 states thanks to a 2015 Supreme Court ruling. However, they may face unique challenges when it comes time to get divorced. This is because many same-sex couples who are married today have been in relationships long before they were able to tie the knot. That fact could complicate matters such as deciding who gets spousal support or how to divide marital property.

Typically, the length of a marriage plays a role in how much a spouse who may have limited income or assets receives in a divorce settlement. To remedy this, some courts may choose to add years to the relationship if a couple was together before they got married. However, there is no guarantee that a court will do this. Therefore, those with fewer means could be put in a tough situation if they choose to litigate.

Wintertime blues: The season for divorce

Winter sends chills down the spines of many, but not always because of the cold. Winter is one of the busiest times for attorneys dealing with divorce cases. Thanks to a variety of factors, the winter is known as one of the most common times to begin considering divorce.

Divorces are primarily filed in August and March. The spike in divorces during those months are attributed cold temperatures, wanting to avoid trouble during the holidays and having to prepare for children to go back to school in the fall or after winter break.

Thinking of the children when contemplating divorce

Some Maryland parents who are contemplating divorce may wonder if it is worth it to stay married for the sake of their children. Although a divorce may have an impact on their lives, there may also be a negative impact by staying in the marriage. It may be worth staying if there is a legitimate chance of rebuilding the marriage. It may also be worth staying in a marriage if it means retaining medical coverage or other needed resources.

In some cases, it may be better to stay married because of the long-term impact divorce can have on children. For instance, they may be less likely to attend college and more likely to get divorced themselves. They may also have emotional issues to contend with throughout their lives. However, it may not be worth staying in an abusive relationship. This is true whether the abuse is physical, emotional or financial.

Leaving a violent marriage

Unfortunately, some Maryland residents will experience domestic violence at some point during their lives. It is a common cause of divorce. Victims of domestic violence may wonder how they will navigate the divorce process when children are involved.

University of Illinois researchers studied how parents interacted during the first year of separation after a violent relationship compared to couples who had not experienced violence prior to separation. The researchers divided the types of violence women had experienced into two groups: coercive controlling violence and situational couple violence.

Custody and co-parenting tips for fathers

Maryland fathers who are seeking custody or visitation time with their children after a divorce might want to think about what they will request and why. Being able to clearly articulate a reason why a certain plan for custody is the best one will be important whether the father needs to persuade the other parent in negotiations or a judge during litigation. The plan should take the work schedules of the parents into account, but ultimately, it must also be in the best interests of the child.

Parents who are divorcing must also work out a parenting plan. Setting clear boundaries about parents' responsibilities may keep them out of court later. Things that can be addressed in the plan include how parents will communicate about matters such as the child's health and education, which parent will get the child on special occasions and who is responsible for certain extracurricular activities.

Studies show the effects of online dating

Maryland couples who met through a dating service might be encouraged by some findings from research into the effect online dating has had on marriage, divorce and relationships. According to various studies, couples who met online may be happier and less likely to break up. Additionally, some researchers believe that online dating could benefit society by bringing more people together who are of different social classes, thereby helping to reduce prejudices.

The popularity of online dating as a way to meet potential romantic partners has soared since the first Apple iPhone was released in 2007. Today, online dating is the second most popular way for heterosexual couples to meet and the most popular way for homosexual couples to meet. Though many think online dating leads to brief encounters and may even destroy old-fashioned romance, the statistics tell a different story. More than one-third of marriages today started online.

Serious issues that may lead to divorce

Some Maryland residents might wonder whether they should try to keep working on their marriage or seek to end it. While people may want to keep a marriage together for the sake of the children or for other reasons, there are some instances in which filing for divorce might be necessary.

For example, while divorce creates upheaval for children that parents would like to avoid, constant conflict in a marriage can as well. If children notice this, it can set a bad example for them. In some cases, the marriage may even be abusive. Emotional and verbal abuse are damaging just as physical abuse is, but some people may not recognize how dangerous the abuse can be until it is turned on their children. These may be reasons to seek a divorce.

Do you know what you want out of your divorce?

When you realize that divorce is at the door, it is normal to enter survival mode and begin thinking about how to get through the tough process ahead. However, many people facing divorce do not know exactly what they want to get out of it.

Divorce is more or less a business relationship ending, and just like a business, ending it requires splitting up the assets and the liabilities that the business held within it. If you and your spouse are headed to divorce, then you should consider carefully which assets, liabilities or privileges are most important to you.