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Rockville, Maryland, Family Law Blog

Property division doesn't have to derail gray divorce

The face -- and age -- of divorce in America is changing. More than ever before, couples over the age of 50 are coming to the conclusion that their marriages just are not working out. While there are no age limits on divorcing to pursue a happier life, individuals in this age group do have a few more concerns than their younger counterparts, particularly when it comes to property division.

Pew Research reported that, while divorce rates decreased over the last 25 years by 21 percent for couples between the ages of 25 and 39, older couples started divorcing more frequently. Couples between the ages of 40 to 49 saw an increase of 14 percent in their divorce rate. Gray divorce, which includes those 50 and older, shot up 109 percent.

Should you give your kids options during a divorce?

During a divorce, your children come first. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that they get to make the rules. Some parents feel as if it's their children's choice to decide where they live or what visitation schedule they have, but the reality is that you, as a parent, have the control.

While the court wants to know that you're doing what's in your child's best interests, there is a lot of freedom in how you design your parenting plan. You can work out a visitation schedule that considers your child's needs, your work and hobbies as well as the activities your ex-spouse will be participating in.

Don't give kids false hope if you intend to divorce

Parenting when you and your spouse are separated or estranged is sometimes difficult. Your children may struggle due to the new conditions of the relationships, and you may have difficulties when communicating with your spouse.

If you and your spouse reach the point of a separation and intend to divorce, the essential thing to do is to set up custody arrangements. You and your estranged spouse need to be on equal terms so that you can help your child through this difficult time without having conflicts.

When should you take steps to determine paternity?

If you are together with the mother of your child but are not positive that the child is yours biologically, it's a good idea to ask for a paternity test. If you are separating, or even if you aren't, this test can give you the information you need to make decisions about your future and the child's.

In some cases, it's necessary to obtain a DNA test to prove if you do or do not need to pay child support. If you aren't married, you could be asked to pay support if you're assumed to be the father of the child. However, if you can prove that you are not the child's parent through DNA testing, then you may not need to pay support unless you've voluntarily assumed parental rights and intend to keep them.

How does a judge decide on child support obligations?

Calculating child support is an important part of any divorce involving children. In some cases, parents with joint custody may decide that it's unnecessary, but the obligation to pay support usually falls on the shoulders of those who have less time with the children.

Every state has its own child support system, but there are a few factors that influence how much someone will pay. Those factors include:

  • The ability to pay based on the parent's income
  • The financial needs of the child, which include special needs, day care, insurance, education and other necessities
  • The standard of living the child was used to during the parents' marriage
  • The income and needs of the parent who has primary custody

How ‘standard of living’ factors in to high-income divorces

When divorce becomes a reality, couples are faced with determining which party will receive maintenance (alimony) and at what amount. There are many factors that go into the decision, of which “standard of living” is only one.

Some people believe the purpose of spousal maintenance is for the receiving spouse to maintain their standard of living established prior to the divorce, especially in high-income, long-term marriages. While that is one factor, it is only one of many.

Watch out for these mistakes during your divorce

No one wants to go through a divorce because the intention of getting married is not to leave your spouse. Even if you agree that you need to go your separate ways, a divorce is devastating when it comes to the plans you once had for your future.

As someone who is going through the beginning of a divorce, you may not be sure what you should do. Should you be willing to negotiate with your spouse? Should you be firm about what you need moving forward? Here are a few things to consider.

Divorce courts: More women paying alimony to exes

In a report from May 2018, an interesting discussion about alimony was started. Gender equality is always an important part of the justice system, and that means that women are to be held to the same standards as men. It seems that is happening because studies show that there are more women being held liable for alimony than in the past.

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers stated that they have seen an increase in the number of women being held responsible for paying alimony to their ex-husbands or wives. Around half of these attorneys have seen an increase in ex-wives paying child support, too.

What are Maryland's child support payments based on?

Paying child support is an important obligation. Making those payments on time helps the custodial parent guarantee that your child has the best care, the best home and the things they need to grow up successfully in their home.

As a parent who has to pay child support, it's a good idea to know how child support is calculated. Maryland uses the income shares model to determine child support obligations. That model considers how much money each parent makes, how many children there are, the alimony being paid, any costs associated with day care, the cost of extraordinary medical care, child support for other children and alimony being received. By looking at all these factors, the judge can make a better decision regarding the amount of support that would be fair to pay.

There's a right way to get out of your long-term relationship

Leaving a long-term relationship is essentially the basis of a divorce. It's not easy to do it, even if you don't want to be in a relationship any longer. Your lives may be intertwined, making it difficult to break out of the relationship without damaging family relationships, friendships and other relationships you have.

On top of that, a divorce comes with the knowledge that neither person will be better off. Dividing marital assets can leave both parties with less. Even if it's for the best, this can be a hard pill to swallow.

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