Law Offices of Jonathan Gladstone
Free Consultations 410-777-8228
Effective Representation for Complex Issues

Baltimore Family Law Blog

Child support enforcement a federal priority

When families in Maryland have to deal with issues related to unpaid child support, the effect on the children involved can be significant, especially when their parent struggles to make ends meet and keep the bills paid. Because of the potential for serious impact on the well-being of the children involved, child support enforcement against delinquent parents is a major priority for federal and state agencies. One of the most effective means of successfully collecting unpaid child support has been wage garnishment and payroll collection.

The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) is working with state agencies, employers and payroll companies to further improve the effectiveness of the payroll withholding process. During fiscal year 2016, the agency oversaw the collection of $33 billion in child support, with 75 percent of that amount collected through payroll withholding. However, despite the success of the program, confusion can lead to enforcement difficulties. For example, many state agencies are billed by third-party payroll companies after requesting employment verification of a parent. The OCSE is working to ensure that billing is properly directed to employers.

There are many high level benefits of Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Have you come to find that no matter what you do you're unable to repair your finances? Are you beginning to wonder if you'll ever get your financial life back in order?

If you find yourself in debt and unsure of what to do next, it's important to learn more about every available strategy. This is the only way to be 100 percent sure of making the right decisions at the right time.

Tips for dividing a 401(k) in a divorce

A retirement account might be one of the most valuable assets a Maryland couple needs to divide in a divorce. To avoid paying unnecessary taxes and penalties, it is important that the spouses take steps to divide the accounts correctly.

With a 401(k) or a pension plan, they will need a document known as a qualified domestic relations order. It is necessary to work with the plan administrator to make sure the proper procedures are followed. If there are multiple retirement accounts, each one requires a separate QDRO. A spouse should review a QDRO with their attorney to make sure it is consistent with the divorce agreement. The QDRO also needs to specify how the distribution will be received. It could be rolled into an IRA, or the receiving spouse could take it directly. In the later case, the spouse would be required to pay regular income tax on the distribution.

Study finds female same-sex couples have highest breakup rates

With the emergence of same-sex marriage in Maryland and nationwide, social scientists have asked whether differences exist among female-female, male-male and male-female marriages. A newly published study based on data from 515 couples collected between 2002 to 2014 found that female-female couples had the highest chance of terminating their relationships. Male-male couples broke up at the lowest rates, and the percentages of heterosexual couples splitting up fell in the middle.

Among the study subjects, 29.3 percent of the female-female couples ended their relationships compared to 18.6 percent of heterosexual couples and 14.5 percent of male-male couples. The women's studies professor who authored the study said that the high rate of relationship dissolution for female-female couples might be explained by the high standards that women set for their relationships. Previous studies that only looked at heterosexual couples showed that relationship quality mattered more to women.

How older people can avoid financial difficulty after a divorce

The rate of divorce for Maryland residents and others who are 50 and older has doubled in the past 25 years. Those who get divorced can benefit from taking steps such as inventorying their assets or asking for alimony as a lump sum payment as opposed to a monthly check. Asking that a former spouse take out a life insurance policy may also protect alimony payments.

In the event that the person making alimony payments dies, the insurance policy can make up for lost future support payments. The cost of insurance premium payments will usually be included in a final settlement. Those who receive alimony should ask to be named both the owner and beneficiary of the policy as that gives them control over it. Taking an inventory of assets may make it easier to determine which items are joint property and which ones are separate property.

Good prenuptial agreements can bring couples together

People planning for marriage in Maryland may be considering a prenuptial agreement but are concerned about the potential emotional fallout of the decision. Some individuals may fear that considering a prenup sets them on the road of preparing for divorce long before their marriage vows are completed. In some cases, it may seem as if one partner's family is putting pressure on the relationship and hoping for a failure. Despite many of the negative stereotypes and beliefs that persist around prenuptial agreements, when handled well, they can bring a couple closer together.

Financial disparities often bring a great deal of stress to a romantic relationship, and a prenuptial agreement is one way of openly discussing the issues and managing the risks that financial disparities present. One frequent cause for a prenup is family properties or a family business in which one of the spouses has an interest, and discussing a prenup can bring to the surface tensions that exist between in-laws. However, the drafting of a prenuptial agreement does not need to be limited to protecting a family business in case of divorce; it can also be an opportunity to set forth boundaries for decision-making that prioritizes the couple.

Fathers: Your rights are important in custody cases

As a father, it's your worst fear that you'll lose the right to see your child. You've always been there for your little one, and you want to continue to be there in the future.

Your soon-to-be ex-wife has made it clear that she doesn't want you to be a part of her future, but you can't bear the thought of her preventing you from being in your child's life. What can you do?

Divorce is no place for revenge

Maryland residents who are ending their marriages and have an acrimonious relationship with their estranged spouse might think that the divorce court is the perfect place to get revenge. However, there are multiple reasons a divorce should not be considered as a form of payback.

Seeking revenge against a spouse during the divorce process may result in the children being hurt as well. No matter who is responsible, both spouses are obligated to approach the process as adults. The divorce will end a marriage, but a parent's relationship with his or her child will still exist, regardless of the status of the relationship between the two ex-spouses.

GOP tax bill could bring changes for people seeking divorce

Alimony, or spousal support, has always been a heavily contested matter in divorces for people in Maryland and elsewhere around the country who are reaching the ends of their marriages. Like other financial issues, such as property division, the negotiations over spousal support can be lengthy and difficult. However, spousal support issues may become even more complicated following changes to the U.S. federal tax code adopted as part of the December 2017 tax reform bill.

Every state has developed its own unique approach to the calculation of spousal support payments, often relying on an algorithm or formula to determine the duration and amount of each payment. The federal tax law approach has been consistent for the past 75 years. The person who pays spousal support is able to deduct the amount of the payment on his or her taxes, and the individual who receives alimony reports the income and is responsible for paying taxes on it. This will change, however, for divorces finalized after December 31, 2018. Alimony payers will no longer be eligible for a tax deduction, and the recipients of that support will no longer need to pay taxes on the payments.

Health insurance may be a forgotten issue in divorce

Divorcing Maryland couples have a lot of legal issues on their plates such as deciding on child custody and support, alimony, who gets the house and how to divide other marital property. The last thing on their minds is probably health insurance coverage.

Unless each spouse has their own health insurance plan, someone will likely be without coverage when the couple splits. If they are both on the same plan, coverage for one spouse ends the day the divorce is finalized in most cases. A legal separation may keep the insurance coverage intact for the spouse who would go without, but some insurance companies might not allow this.