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Baltimore Family Law Blog

Personality traits that could endanger a marriage

Certain personality traits may increase the likelihood that Maryland spouse will get a divorce. For example, one problem trait is materialism. A spouse who constantly wants to buy more could put their marriage in danger. Catastrophizing is also a dangerous personality trait. This involves blowing small things out of proportion.

Other personality indicators are not quite as obvious. Caregiving seems like a good trait, but someone who does it to excess can create problems in their marriage. It can be a way for them to assert control over a partner. Avoiding arguments may also lead to issues. If a couple never addresses points of conflict, they will never get resolved.

Custody conundrum: Who gets the kids when both parents work?

You and your ex-spouse have always been good about putting your children first, but you've reached a point that has made custody difficult. You trust each other, but both of you have people in the other person's family whom you don't trust. You want your children to stay with those you love and trust, not with people you fear will give them the wrong ideas or harm them in some way.

Since you and your ex-spouse ended up on the same work schedules, the problems became very significant in your life. You don't like the idea of day cares or afterschool programs where your children are with strangers for hours a day, but neither of you have anyone in the family you can both agree on as a babysitter.

Tax law changes affecting child support, exemptions and alimony

Parents in Maryland who are planning to get a divorce will soon have to do so without the added benefits of certain personal and dependent exemptions. This is because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) will have a noticeable impact on child support and alimony when it officially goes into effect starting in 2019. In addition to cutting the value of certain exemptions, the TCJA increases standard deductions across all filing status options, including single and Head of Household (HOH).

Due to the considerable increase in HOH deductions, being able to claim HOH status after a divorce can be especially beneficial for a newly single parent under the TCJA. To be eligible to claim this tax filing status, a newly unmarried individual must be responsible for paying for more than half the household expenses. A dependent child must also live with an HOH filer more than 50 percent of the time. The added significance of being able to claim HOH status instead of single could make settlement negotiations more contentious if both parents wish to be able to do so.

A divorce late in life poses added risks

Even when a Maryland couple realizes it's the right thing to do under the circumstances, divorce is tough on all those involved. In addition to the paralyzing emotional issues to contend with, financial assets must be split and two separate households formed. As problematic as this is for those in their prime earning years, it's often more difficult for couples approaching retirement age.

Despite what many people may believe, divorces involving older couples are not isolated incidents. Although divorce rates overall in the country are on a slight decline, studies show that splits involving spouses age 50 and older have doubled in the last 20 years. It is no longer all but a certainty that a couple married for 20 or 30 years will remain so.

Agreements could make a divorce easier

Marriages in Maryland and throughout the country tend to fail because of issues related to money and a lack of communication. However, creating a prenuptial agreement may make it possible to improve communication and help a couple be more transparent about their finances. It will also lay the groundwork as to how property is divided and whether either party is entitled to spousal support in the event of a divorce.

A prenuptial agreement is beneficial because it allows for potentially contentious issues to be resolved before the wedding takes place. This may make it easier to create an agreement that is based more on facts and logic and less on emotion. Prenuptial agreements can benefit anyone who is getting married whether they are doing so for the first time or have been married previously. If a couple is unable to put together a prenuptial agreement, there is still time to create a similar agreement after the wedding.

Factors that frequently contribute to decision to divorce

The reasons that Maryland couples decide to end their marriages vary but sometimes depend on people's backgrounds. Relationship quality exerts a large influence, but personal histories can also alter the odds of a person choosing to get a divorce. For example, research has identified children of divorced parents as being at a higher risk of divorce. Daughters of divorced parents experience a 60 percent greater likelihood of dissolving their marriages than people raised by married parents. The divorce risk rises by 35 percent for sons of divorced parents.

Other studies have determined that second marriages face greater obstacles. Previously divorced people entering new marriages have divorce rates 2.5 times higher than divorce rates for first marriages. Marital satisfaction among women plays an important role as well. Husbands tend to judge their marital happiness based on their wives' contentment with the relationship.

A divorce affects you in many ways: Be prepared for the changes

Before you go to your attorney to seek a divorce, there are some things that you should know. Understanding what a divorce entails before you begin may help you decide if it is truly what you want. In some cases, realizing how much can be lost can give some people a push toward working to save the marriage or toward going to mediation before a divorce. In any case, there are several things you should know before you decide to file.

The first thing that you should expect is that your divorce can take quite a long time to conclude. Although many divorces can be finalized in as few as two or three months, the reality is that many people have longer divorces because of their demands or wishes. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your divorce, it will take much longer to resolve your case.

Net worth a factor in how couples resolve their divorces

Couples in Maryland and throughout the country who choose to get divorced may be less likely to fight if they are worth at least $5 million. This is according to a divorce attorney based on his experience as opposed to any objective data. However, he believes that those who have less than $5 million aren't secure enough to not attempt to claim it as theirs.

Those who have a net worth close to this threshold are considered to be in the fighting class. They tend to want to preserve their social status, and individuals at this level in the social pecking order will often battle each other personally. Generally speaking, those who are typically considered to be rich will either not fight over money or do so through a proxy. About 9.4 Americans have a net worth of between $1 million and $5 million.

How abuse impacts a child custody case

Each year, 3 million children throughout Maryland and the rest of the country will witness an act of domestic violence. If either a child or adult is abused, it could be used as grounds for divorce. A court will then need to decide whether the abuser or the victim will have custody of the child. Ultimately, the court will need to do what it feels is in the best interests of the child.

A judge will focus on several different factors when making his or her decision. Those factors will usually include whether the abuse was directed at the child or if a parent poses a danger to the child. Other factors such as whether there is strong evidence of abuse or a pending case against an alleged abuser will be taken into consideration as well. Those who have committed domestic abuse multiple times in the past are generally considered more likely to do so again in the future.

Divorced parents can plan for back-to-school

When Maryland parents decide to divorce, concern about the effects on their children is often uppermost in their minds. This can be especially true as kids head off to a new school year. Every academic year can be a time of uncertainty, anxiety and anticipation as children prepare for new friends, teachers and classes. However, the school year transition can be especially challenging when the children's lives are split between two homes for the first time. While academic life after divorce will become routine in future years, parents can help to ease kids' transition in that first back-to-school period after a divorce.

If possible, both parents can speak with their children together about their academic goals for the year. Despite divorce, both parents are often united in their commitment to their children's education. By talking about goals and challenges for the upcoming year, kids can feel that they have both of their parents' support in facing the upcoming academic year. If there is too much tension to have a joint family meeting, kids can share their separate discussions with the other parent as well in an open, supportive environment.