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Baltimore Family Law Blog

How divorce can affect sending kids to college

Several parents in Maryland work hard to send their children to college. However, those very same parents might not plan for unexpected events, such as the death of either spouse or the divorce of both parents. Yet, this is surprising given how many married couples end up going to divorce court: As a matter of fact, it is estimated that four out of ten marriages get dissolved at some point.

Divorce can affect the parents' plan to send their children to college in many ways. For one thing, after a divorce, parents have to pay for two households with the same income they had before the divorce. Additionally, courts force non-custodial parents to pay child and spousal support, which can interfere with their plans to save for higher education. Family expenses take precedence over other plans the parents might have had.

Reasons for divorce share common traits

Although each case of divorce is unique, Maryland couples who choose to separate often find that they share common traits with troubled marriages throughout the country. Insider has published some data regarding common reasons for divorce, and the results show that many of the top causes are the same today as they have been in years past.

According to Insider's published findings, the top reason for divorce is a lack of commitment by one spouse to the other. This lack of commitment may come about as a result of no longer sharing the same goals for the marriage, but it may also be coupled with another top reason for divorce: infidelity. Affairs cause some of the largest emotional rifts between spouses, and even those couples who choose to move forward with a marriage after infidelity often find that the wounds never completely heal.

3 tips for fathers dealing with child custody issues

As a father going through a divorce, it's important that you do all you can to maintain a healthy relationship with your child. You know you want to continue to be involved in your child's life, and you should be.

Men often worry that they're going to face a bias in court, but the reality today is that most judges do not favor one parent over the other. In fact, the law does not allow for bias. If a bias does appear in court, then your attorney can fight it and ask for a different judge or changes to be made with the case.

Cooperation can lead to a fair parenting schedule

When a separated couple in Maryland starts planning a parenting schedule, they should think about what the situation will be like for their children. Considering the transitional challenges can help parents design a schedule that is child-focused.

This can be important because some parents may be tempted to look at the schedule as a win-or-lose opportunity. Others might aim for a schedule that causes them the least amount of inconvenience. Instead, the schedule should be designed to accommodate the child's schedule and needs. The child's extracurricular activities, where both parents live, what transportation is like and how far away the school is should all be factors in planning the schedule. In some families, older children may be a part of this discussion.

Why prenuptial agreements are important for younger couples

College and graduate students in Maryland and throughout the country may not have a lot of assets when they get married. However, it can still be a good idea to create a prenuptial agreement. This is because students may have debt that they will bring into the marriage. Those who are in law or medical school may have a significant amount of debt when they get married.

Creating a prenuptial agreement can help couples determine what would happen to that debt in the event that their marriage ended. In a general sense, a prenuptial agreement can help couples think about their financial future. While an individual may have nothing but debt today, he or she could have a large bank account balance or other assets in the future. Therefore, it is good to think about how those assets will be managed prior to a wedding taking place.

Financial reasons to re-think a divorce

Couples in Maryland often have valid reasons for splitting up. Even so, it's generally advised -- as long as an unsafe domestic situation doesn't exist -- that spouses who've reached a point where divorce is being discussed take a moment to consider the full financial implications associated with untying the knot. This doesn't mean that couples should stick things out just to avoid financial challenges. However, it never hurts to be fully informed about what a newly single life may actually look like.

The end of a marriage often leads to wrangling over the marital home. However, maintaining a home on half as much income can sometimes be difficult, especially when there are utility bills and household expenses for things like food and regular upkeep. Not having enough money to manage a home may result in accumulating more debt with loans. In a worst-case scenario, the house may be lost during bankruptcy proceedings.

New year brings spike in divorce filings

It's not unusual for individuals in Maryland to resolve to make improvements in their lives with the start of the new year. For some married couples, this includes a personal resolve to end a marriage that's no longer working. In fact, so many couples opt to kick off the new year by untying the knot that the first Monday of January is unofficially referred to as "Divorce Day" by family law attorneys.

While there are certainly plenty of valid reasons to end of a marriage, it may be wise for some couples contemplating a divorce to take a step back. As long as there aren't issues with domestic abuse involved, couples may benefit from making an attempt at marriage counseling before deciding whether or not to split. It's possible to put the brakes on a divorce once the process gets started, but couples may be able to save some time and money by making one last effort to work things out.

Do you need a protective order during divorce?

Going through a divorce can place enormous pressure on anyone, and that pressure may cause an otherwise reasonable person to act in surprising and dangerous ways. No matter how well-grounded a person may seem, when crisis hits home, they may turn into a completely different, volatile person.

This is common when bankruptcy coincides with divorce, for instance. Either experience is difficult to navigate on their own, and combining the two is doubly difficult for those stuck in the middle. Your divorce experience may involve seeking protection orders to keep you safe while you work toward rebuilding your life from the ground up.

How new tax rules may influence a divorce settlement

For more than 70 years, Maryland residents and others who receive alimony were required to claim it as income. Those who paid alimony were allowed to use it as a tax deduction. However, this is no longer the case as of the first day of 2019. Other changes to the tax law related to mortgage and SALT tax deductions could also play a role in how a divorce settlement is structured.

While the tax law changes may alter how a person goes about settling a divorce, the rule changes are not necessarily a bad thing. For instance, an individual could receive a lump sum payment instead of alimony. It could also be possible to receive payments for property division. In this scenario, a person receives payments equal to the market value of an asset. Parents with children may be able to claim a child tax credit of up to $2,000 per qualifying child.

Differences between a domestic partnership and marriage

In general, domestic partnerships in Maryland are similar to marriages. However, they do not share all the same benefits. Depending on the local jurisdiction, domestic partnerships may be limited to senior couples or couples with at least one partner over 62 years old. Some places refer to domestic partnerships as "civil unions."

While a domestic partnership and a marriage are not identical, they enjoy some of the same benefits. Advantages vary from state to state. For example, a couple in a domestic partnership may have the ability to get a family health insurance policy. They may have the right to work leave for a sick partner as well as bereavement leave. One may also have the right to visit their partner in a hospital or jail. However, they do not have all the rights of a marriage, and some states place more limitations on them than others. This is why many same-sex couples married as soon as they were legally able to do so.