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Rockville, Maryland, Family Law Blog

January is expected to have a spike in divorces in the US

January is approaching and with it comes a busy time of year for divorce attorneys. Divorces pick up speed in January, as many people begin planning for a year where they can get started on a new life. Some people wait to divorce in January because it means their children get one last holiday season with their parents together. Others choose to do so because they can't imagine spending one more holiday together with their spouse.

January is known as one of the most popular divorce months. It's not just in the U.S. that this uptick in divorces is seen. It's also seen in the U.K., where around one in five couples make the decision to divorce following the holiday season. In the United States, attorneys generally see an increase in divorce filings of around 25 to 30% in January.

Can DNA tests ever be wrong?

There's a question that some parents have when they're trying to find out if a man is a father of a child. They want to know if the paternity test could ever be wrong.

Realistically, it's unlikely for these tests to be wrong, but that doesn't mean that inaccuracies don't happen. Sometimes, fraud gets in the way of accuracy. Other times, it's a person's bloodline that muddies the test results.

Divorce at an older age can be challenging

When you got married 25, 30 or more years ago, you no doubt were expecting your relationship to last a lifetime. Through the years, like many Maryland couples, you and your spouse may have expanded your family size, purchased your own home or, perhaps, even started a business together. When problems began to surface in your relationship, you did your best to rise above them and move on in life.

Once your children were much older, you might have decided that, rather than stay in an unhappy relationship, you'd rather file for divorce. Society used to frown upon such ideas long ago, but times have changed; in fact, the divorce rate among people age 50 and over has nearly doubled in the past 20 years. Starting a single lifestyle after decades of marriage is definitely not without its challenges.

Women may be more likely to pay alimony in 2019

Alimony is a payment made from one ex-spouse to another following a divorce. How much you will or will not get out of alimony can be decided in a few ways, but what's interesting is that gender does not play a role.

While in the past it was typically men who paid alimony, that's not always the case today. In fact, more and more women are becoming the breadwinners in their households, which means that an increased number of moms and women are paying child support and alimony. According to a survey from 2018, around 45% of attorneys admitted to seeing more mothers paying alimony. Another 54% saw an increase in the number of mothers paying child support.

Communicate and cooperate to have a smoother divorce

It is not easy to go through a divorce, but many people do go through it at some point in their lives. In Western cultures, such as in the United States, over 90% of people marry before they're 50 years old. Happy marriages are helpful to both parties, but when marriages don't go as planned, they can be harmful.

So, how can you make your divorce as smooth as possible? The goals you should have include cooperation and communication.

Alimony can be a great way to get back on your feet

Alimony can be an important payment for some people. For example, women who stayed home to raise their children may have taken less time on their careers and need alimony to help support them as they go back to school or focus on moving forward and upward at work.

Alimony, which is also known as spousal support, provides a base payment monthly or on another schedule that you decide with your ex-spouse. Many people choose lump-sum alimony, which is a one-off payment because they are able to avoid the continued connection that monthly or bi-weekly alimony would require.

Do you know what to expect in family court?

If you are going to court over child custody proceedings, then you need to know what to expect. Your children rely on you understanding this process and being present in a timely manner. You want to represent yourself as professionally, and respectfully, as possible.

Most people who go to child custody hearings in family court work with an attorney who is helping them seek custody. Prior to court, you and your attorney will work on preparing arguments and getting ready to answer the court's questions. You will also need to notify witnesses who are important to your case and be prepared to look the part of a responsible parent.

Things to keep in mind when telling your children about divorce

It's understandable that you want to have active, healthy relationships with your children. Each one is unique and, like most Maryland parents can attest, you've likely already encountered challenges in your parenting journey. Family life is definitely something that can be joyful one day and a tremendous struggle the next, depending on the ages of your children and other issues, such as what happens to be going on in your marriage. If you have decided to file for divorce, you might be a bit anxious about telling your kids.

The good news is that children are generally resilient and adaptable by nature. Divorce certainly disrupts and changes their lives; however, it doesn't necessarily have to ruin them. By knowing what to say or not say and by building a strong support network from the start, you and your children can work together to come to terms with your current situation and transition into a new lifestyle.

How can you take a step back from conflicts and regroup?

Divorces aren't always easy, and it's not hard to see why some people become disgruntled during them. One spouse might be angry, hurt or frustrated. The other might seem flippant or happy about "getting away" from a relationship they no longer wanted.

This conflict in feelings can lead to arguments and disputes, which have the potential to draw out the length of the divorce. If you are going through a divorce and find yourself in conflict with your estranged spouse, there are some things you can do to help yourself, though.

Is alimony a thing of the past? The debate is ongoing

With changes in the way that spousal support is handled through income taxes, the discussion surrounding spousal support and alimony has been changing. One of the major questions that people keep asking is if this support is even necessary moving forward.

If you are someone who relies on alimony, the thought of taking away that protection might be scary. However, most people agree that fair spousal support is still a necessity.

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