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Rockville Maryland Family Law Blog

Family law in Maryland

Divorce can be a difficult process emotionally. Sometimes it is the only way to move forward in life. Not all Maryland divorces look exactly the same, but there are some procedural steps that they have in common.

First, one spouse puts the divorce in writing by filing what known as a petition and summons. The petition and summons are served on the other party. It is important to be proactive and seek out legal help right away. Waiting or procrastinating when people are faced with legal challenges, like being denied the ability to visit their kids or facing eviction from a home can make them look bad in legal proceedings. The second step in the process is for the spouse on the receiving end of the petition and summons to respond. People should always pick an attorney that they trust and who will address their legal concerns. They should not choose an attorney to be their best friend or therapist.

Studies examine factors in divorce

People in Maryland who have not finished high school might be more likely to get a divorce than those with a higher level of educational attainment. This is one of a number of findings in multiple studies that have looked at factors in divorce risk.

Couples with age gaps might be more vulnerable to divorce along with those who marry in their teens. Couples who get married after the age of 32 are also more likely to divorce than those who marry in their late 20s. If a husband does not work full time, this increases the likelihood that the marriage will end, although this does not seem to be related to income level.

Maryland set to revoke parental rights of rapists

Did you know that our state is one of the very that allows attackers to claim parental rights when a woman is impregnated during a sexual assault?

The Baltimore Sun reports that there are only six other states that allow rapists to assert parental rights.

Make moving between two homes easier for your children

One of the post-divorce changes that your children will have to deal with is becoming acclimated to living between two homes. Adjusting can be difficult, partly because they will no longer see both parents every day — now it will be one at a time.

Fortunately, most children are resilient. With love, understanding and good planning, you and the other parent can make this transition go smoothly for your kids.

Signs that it's time to end a marriage

Some Maryland couples could see divorce as a failure. However, there are many instances in which ending a marriage is preferable to the alternative. If a couple is not able to communicate effectively, there may be no foundation for the marriage to remain stable. Over time, this could cause a couple to drift apart and change the relationship permanently.

If an individual is experiencing physical or emotional abuse, it might be a good time to leave. Although leaving a relationship can be difficult even when a person is being abused, it may help victims find themselves. Over time, they could finally learn how to love themselves again. Love is an important element of a successful marriage, and a spouse who can't find the love in their relationship may be best served by ending it.

Studies find wide range of risk factors for divorce

Couples in Maryland that had a child in the first seven months after marriage or whose firstborn was a girl might be more likely to get a divorce than people who waited to have a child or whose first child was a boy. Nationwide studies have identified a number of factors that could increase the likelihood that a marriage will end in divorce.

If a person has been married before, his or her subsequent marriages are less likely to be stable than the first one. Whether or not one's parents are divorced also is a factor. Studies show that people who were adopted more closely mirror their biological parents' marriage patterns than those of their adopted parents.

Signs that a divorce might be the right choice

The decision to divorce may be a difficult one for some people in Maryland. Often, the situation in a marriage may worsen gradually so that a person does not realize how bad it has become. It may be obvious to outsiders that someone should get a divorce, but it may take that person much longer to realize it. However, there are a few situations that merit a divorce.

One of those situations is one in which a spouse is emotionally and verbally abusive. In some cases, a person might not realize the extent of the abuse until the spouse turns the behavior on a child. Another situation involving children may be the realization that the marriage is setting a bad example of relationships for the child. While parents might want to avoid divorce to give children more stability, a constant atmosphere of arguing is also stressful for them.

Child support is the main reason for wage garnishments

On Sept. 27, the ADP Research Institute released a study examining wage garnishments using anonymous data from 12 million workers throughout the country. Researchers found that around 7 percent of workers, or 1 in every 14, had their wages garnished for various reasons including tax debt and consumer loans. However, more than 70 percent of workers whose wages were garnished were men, and the vast majority of those men had their wages garnished because of nonpayment of child support. Some Maryland workers are likely among these employees.

For middle-aged men in the Midwest who worked in large manufacturing, the rate of wage garnishments was 26 percent. The average salary of these workers was $44,000. Along with the Midwest, the South was also more likely than other regions to have employees whose wages were garnished. Companies that were goods-producing, more common in these regions than in other areas of the country, were more likely than service sector companies to have employees whose wages were garnished. Proportionately, there were more employees whose wages were garnished at larger companies, but smaller companies had a higher child support garnishment rate.

Costly aspects of property division in divorce

Fees for legal or financial advice only scratch the surface of divorce costs. When a couple in Maryland possesses assets, taxes and housing expenses can cut deeply into the value of a divorce settlement. People over the age of 50 experience higher long-term costs because they often have substantial assets and limited time to rebuild a retirement nest egg.

Taxes and early withdrawal fees could drain divided retirement accounts. For example, a husband wanting his half of an Individual Retirement Account holding $1.5 million would face a 10-percent penalty right off the top of the $750,000 if he was less than 59-1/2 years old and did not roll the money into another retirement plan. Federal and state agencies would also view the distribution as taxable income. Total tax rates could reach as high as 52 percent if the recipient wants the cash immediately. Savings within investment brokerage accounts fare badly as well. Withdrawals from investments could create a capital gains tax obligation up to 20 percent.

How to collect on unpaid child support

Collecting child support can be an emotionally draining, and tedious process. If you have a court order and are still not getting the support you are owed, you are certainly not alone. It is estimated that less than half of parents with a current support order are actually collecting the full amount each month. But this does not mean that you should give up on your support obligation. In fact, the State of Maryland can pursue a variety of actions to enforce support orders.  This post will highlight a few.

Garnish wages. The state can take money directly from the obligor’s (the person ordered to pay support) paycheck. Wage garnishment is the most common action taken by the child support division.

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