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Baltimore Family Law Blog

Tips for parallel parenting

Parents in Maryland who are going through a divorce may want to share custody or ensure that one child has ample visitation time with the parent who does not have custody. At the same time, the parents may find that whenever they are together or try to communicate, it erupts into conflict. This can be particularly upsetting for their children. Studies show that it is exposure to this conflict that is the most difficult for children after divorce, so parents should seek to minimize it.

Co-parenting requires a level of cooperation and communication that couples in this situation might not be capable of. However, there is an alternative. If parents are generally in agreement on major issues, such as religion and medical care, they may want to consider giving parallel parenting a try.

Hiring a divorce coach

Many people in Maryland file for divorce every year. Most individuals hire an attorney when filing for divorce to ensure that they are treated fairly in court. Some people are also turning to "divorce coaches" to help themselves get through the emotional side of divorce.

Usually, coaches help people get better at an activity like a sport. Divorce coaches help people get through a divorce with as little stress as possible. A divorce coach can help individuals going through a divorce build confidence and make decisions related to the divorce.

Parents and children may benefit from birdnesting in divorce

Whether a divorce is contentious or amicable in Maryland, most divorced or divorcing couples can agree that the best interests of any children involved in the process need to be at the heart of the matter. Traditionally, children of divorced or divorcing couples have faced the prospect of shuttling between two different homes, but a recent trend is seeking to change that. "Birdnesting" is a custody arrangement in which both parents share a home while living separately to provide children with a singular place of residence during or after a divorce.

NBC News spoke with a variety of family law experts who believe that birdnesting can be a beneficial arrangement in that it allows for an easier time dealing with transition in divorce. Through birdnesting, children are afforded a safe space where both parents are able to provide care by swapping out time spent together with children. In many cases, one parent will live at the family home in a separate area, like a studio apartment, and spend time with children on a set schedule.

Not everyone likes child custody rules

In Maryland and many other states, child custody orders are meant to be neutral in regards to gender. However, mothers tend to be granted custody after a couple divorces. If noncustodial parents fail to pay child support, they could be jailed or charged interest on the balance in arrears. One man claimed that he owed $680,000 in back support at an interest rate of 9 percent.

Legal professionals say that noncustodial parents should pay whatever they can even if they can't make full support payments. In many cases, paying even a fraction of what is owed could help to keep a parent out of jail. Those who are truly struggling to keep up with a support order may receive a modified order or some other temporary payment plan. Generally speaking, the odds of obtaining leniency depend on parents making a good faith effort to provide for their child.

What happens if your ex declares bankruptcy?

You end your marriage to your spouse, and your debt gets divided during the divorce. Some of it is credit card debt, some of it is payments on the car and some is mortgage debt.

Things go well for the first few months after the divorce. Your ex pays their debts and you pay yours. It seems like the financial side of the agreement has worked out.

How to avoid expensive financial mistakes during divorce

For people in Maryland, divorce can be both emotionally and financially costly. Being aware ahead of time of some of the pitfalls can help a person avoid them. For example, some people may think they will feel better if they spend money on a big, expensive item. They might temporarily improve their mood, but they will then need to pay the bills.

Divorce may bring other bills as well, but people should research before they liquidate assets to pay them since there could be taxes. There might also be taxes and penalties on a 401(k) if the couple divides it and fails to use a qualified domestic relations order and to roll the distribution into an IRA. If the divorce is finalized after the end of 2018 and one person has to pay alimony to the other, there will be no taxes on the alimony. This also means the payer cannot deduct payments. People who are worried about paying alimony should not take extreme steps such as quitting their job in order to avoid it since this will only be more expensive in the long run.

How to help children cope with divorce

Divorcing parents in Maryland and around the country often enter into property division and spousal support discussions with very firm objectives. However, they are generally able to put whatever animosity they feel aside when the welfare of their children is at stake. There are steps that parents can take to give their children a better chance of emerging from the divorce experience emotionally unscathed.

Upheaval can be expected during a separation, but this upheaval does not have to affect every aspect of family life. Experts advise divorcing parents to maintain their traditional roles and avoid letting rules slip in order to mollify their children. Furthermore, it's a bad idea to avoid discipline to court favor from children.

Study finds cohabitation an indicator for divorce

Living together prior to marriage has become a normal arrangement for couples across Maryland and the United States, but a study has shown that this practice is linked to higher rates of divorce over time. The Journal of Marriage and Family has published a study called "Cohabitation Experience and Cohabitation's Association With Marital Dissolution" that examined over 200,000 years of combined marriage data in six waves from the National Surveys of Family Growth.

In this data, the researchers focused on divorce rates across time compared to cohabitation practices. The study utilized data from 1970 through 2015, and its sample was nationally representative of first marriages in women below the age of 45.

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.

Daycare 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 some daycare decisions difficult. You want your children to stay with those you love and trust, but what are the options?

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 daycares or afterschool programs where your children spend hours a day, but neither of you have anyone in the family who can serve as a babysitter.