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Rockville Maryland Family Law Blog

Occupation and income influence divorce rates

People holding jobs in Maryland that require late or irregular hours appear to face a higher risk of getting a divorce. An analysis of data from the 2015 American Community Survey showed that occupations that service nightlife or travel, such as bartenders, casino workers or flight attendants, have high divorce rates nationwide. Gaming managers and bartenders had the highest divorce rates compared to all other occupations.

As of 2015, statisticians calculated the mean national rate of divorce at approximately 35 percent. Higher than average rates of divorce occurred most often among people employed in industries tied to transportation, shipping or travel.

Handling IRAs and 401(k)s in a divorce settlement

On average, an individual pays $15,000 to complete the divorce process. However, this amount could be higher or lower depending on the circumstances of a given divorce. While some Maryland residents may consider using their retirement savings to help cover this expense, there may be better ways to do it. Taking a withdrawal from a 401(k) or IRA without a divorce decree may be more expensive in the long run.

A 401(k) or similar plans such as a 403(b) will be split according to the terms of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order . This makes it possible for people to roll over money from a former spouse's plan into their own without penalty. Those who have an IRA to divide in divorce will do so pursuant to the divorce decree. An individual has up to one year to make the transfer without penalty.

Tips to help parents deal with a toxic ex

Following a divorce, a Maryland parent may call his or her ex toxic for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the ex may still be angry about the divorce, may be attempting to alienate the children or has an addiction that makes co-parenting difficult. Even so, many studies have shown that, in most cases, the children benefit when both parents are involved in their lives.

When dealing with a toxic co-parent, it is important to remember that the children are most important. As such, parents should keep the focus on what the children need and not what the parents necessarily want. Keeping the focus on the children means that parents should only communicate with the toxic co-parent when they need to discuss issues surrounding the children. Parents should avoid talking about their personal lives and avoid discussions that could trigger a negative reaction in the ex.

How parental rights might be terminated

In Maryland, parental rights may be terminated either involuntarily or voluntarily. There are certain circumstances that might lead a court to order a termination. Parents may also terminate their own rights voluntarily, which normally happens in the case of adoption.

Involuntary termination of parental rights ends the legal relationships between parents and children. Courts may order this if the parents have committed acts such as sexual abuse, chronic neglect and other severe forms of abuse against their children. Parents may also have their rights terminated if they abandon their children, fail to support them or fail to keep in contact with them.

TSPs in divorce

Federal employees living in Maryland may have some special concerns during divorce proceedings. Many federal employees have what is known as a Thrift Savings Plan, which can be counted by the courts as a marital asset. If it is considered a marital asset, one's spouse may be entitled to a portion of the funds as part of the divorce settlement.

The division of a TSP is not governed by any federal regulations or laws. Instead, it is up to the couple to come to an agreement on how the TSP should be divided, or if it should be divided at all. If the couple can't work out a settlement on their own, they may need to resort to mediation or asking a judge to make the decision for them.

Divorce often hits women harder than men

Although going through a divorce is difficult for many Maryland coupoles, the ending of a marriage often hits women harder than men. This is due to the fact that, overall, women earn less than their male counterparts. Further, traditional gender roles, such as women staying in the home to provide child care, often put them at an economic disadvantage when they get divorced.

As such, thinking about finances and making changes where it counts is going to be important for women who are on the verge of a divorce. To start, they should determine what their financial situation actually is by listing all sources of income, expenses and future financial goals. It is also important to remember that, while they may initially get child support and alimony, these sources of income will not last forever. As such, it is ideal to make plans that do not rely on these payments.

Prenuptial agreements may be a good idea for entrepreneurs

Maryland entrepreneurs who plan to get married may want to sign prenuptial agreements so that they can protect their businesses in the case that they later get divorced. Without prenuptial agreements, their former spouses may end up holding greater legal interests in their businesses than the entrepreneurs intended.

It is common for entrepreneurs to ask their spouses for advice or other help when their businesses are first starting. If they do not have prenuptial agreements in place, their spouses may gain significant financial interests in the businesses with which they have helped even if the entrepreneurs started the companies prior to their marriages. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that a business remains as separate property regardless of any contribution by the other party.

Dealing with a parental kidnapping case

A Maryland parent can be accused of kidnapping a child if he or she absconds with a child when the other parent has custody. While these cases can be complex and difficult to deal with on many levels, parents who have had a child abducted can rely on law enforcement agencies.

Law enforcement officials usually try to not become involved in family issues. When it comes to kidnapping or domestic violence, however, state and federal agencies likely will. Although it is usually best for parents to let the authorities deal with parental kidnapping incident, they can hire their own private investigators to help. It should be noted, however, that the parent hiring the private investigator will be responsible for the costs.

Business valuation in a divorce

When a Maryland couple gets a divorce, if one or both owns a business or if the two are co-owners, it may be necessary to get a valuation for the business. A skilled valuation analyst can do this.

The couple also needs to decide whether they need a full valuation or a calculation of value. Which one is necessary will depend on how the valuation will be used. The former is more expensive and time-consuming, but it is also more reliable. A full valuation may be the right choice if the information is needed in formal proceedings by a third party such as an arbitrator or a judge. A calculation of value might be sufficient for mediation.

Getting a legal separation before filing for divorce

In the state of Maryland, a couple considering ending their marriage has another option available before jumping right to the divorce process. Although they are not that common, a legal separation can be used in a situation where a couple is still figuring out whether they want to try and make their marriage work or if they want to go ahead with the divorce.

If a couple agrees to a legal separation, the court still makes a number of determinations regarding property division and child custody. Further, a spouse may also be entitled to separation maintenance, which can include the equivalent of spousal support and child support. If the couple later decides to get a divorce instead of working on the marriage, the separation maintenance can have an impact on what each spouse could be awarded during the actual divorce.