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Rockville Maryland Family Law Blog

Choices about where to live after divorce

Maryland couples who are getting a divorce and who own a home must make a choice as to whether they will sell or keep it. Keeping the home may allow a person to retain a sense of stability, but it can also be expensive. People who make this choice should be sure they can afford not only the mortgage but the cost of maintenance, taxes and insurance. They must also be able to qualify for a mortgage. A couple can continue owning the home jointly, but this leaves a person with financial ties to an ex-spouse.

Selling the home and buying a new one may allow a person to move to a place that is more affordable on a single income, but there are a number of up-front costs associated with this. Qualifying for a mortgage may still be a challenge on a single income as well.

Divorce can cause changes to tax filings

Financial repercussions can be a major concern for Maryland spouses considering filing for divorce. From the division of assets to dealing with spousal support, there can be major impacts on each party's finances caused by the end of a marriage, and the stress around these issues can be equal to or even exceed that caused by the practical and emotional fallout of a split. One additional financial concern following divorce that is less frequently addressed but is quite important for future finances is the impact of divorce on annual tax filings.

The year after a divorce goes into effect, both parties' tax filings for the prior year will be affected. Therefore, if a divorce is finalized prior to December 31 of a given year, it will need to be reflected on each spouse's tax returns for that year, and each party should file separately. However, if the divorce was not finalized until the new year or the couple is only legally separated, they should continue to file as married.

Assets to divide in a divorce include retirement accounts

The division of assets is probably one of the most difficult tasks to manage when you are going through a divorce.

When you think of assets, the marital home no doubt comes to mind, along with bank accounts, cars and things such as your baseball card collection. To add a bit more confusion to the mix, there are your retirement accounts. How should the court divvy those up?

How contempt in a marriage may lead to divorce

Maryland couples who display contempt toward one another might be more likely to get a divorce according to the research of marriage counselor John Gottman. According to Gottman, it is the most dangerous of four behavior patterns he has identified as threatening the longevity of a marriage. The others are stonewalling, defensiveness and criticism.

Contempt can include behavior like mimicking the other partner, cruel humor and sneering. Gottman says it indicates a fundamental lack of respect, and that is what makes it so difficult for couples to repair their relationship once it has set in.

Financial recovery after divorce

Many recently divorced people living in Maryland struggle financially afterwards. This is due to a number of factors, including loss of assets and the need to set up a new household. While it is possible to recover, many individuals find that they have to take aggressive action to do so.

People have an opportunity to take a good look at their finances and current circumstances and make, when necessary, some radical changes. After all, while divorce does represent the end of a marriage, it can also represent a new beginning. People should assess what types of assets they do currently have, and these are not necessarily always material or financial. Knowing and cultivating a secure support network of family and friends is often crucial to maintaining a positive mental attitude.

How to prepare for divorce negotiations

Couples in Maryland who are getting a divorce may be able to save time and money by negotiating a divorce settlement instead of turning to litigation. However, some advance preparation may lead to better outcomes.

People should have a good grasp on their finances for several reasons. One is that it will keep them from making offers regarding alimony that their finances cannot actually support. Another is that it will help an attorney in assessing the client's position. An attorney might be able to predict what the best and worst outcomes could be and can educate the client regarding Illinois law. People should go into negotiations understanding their legal rights and obligations.

Divorce prompts some people to use digital spy technology

The problems that cause people in Maryland to pursue divorce range from simply growing apart to abuse. Whether someone wants to gather evidence about a spouse's infidelity or stalk someone, digital spy technology offers cheap and easy methods for tracking movements and monitoring computer activity.

GPS tracking devices attached to a car allow people to know exactly where vehicles go. In one case, a woman discovered one on her car. She had been trying to avoid her ex-husband, but he always seemed to know where she had been. When she filed a police report about the activity, she learned that a prosecutor would not pursue charges because she and her ex-husband still jointly owned the vehicle.

Preparing to file for divorce

Many couples in Maryland who want to get divorced wait until after the holidays to file their petitions. This leads to a surge in new divorce cases in January of each year. While the beginning of the year is a great time to make a fresh start, there are several steps that spouses might want to complete before they commence the divorce process.

Before people meet with their divorce lawyers for initial consultations, they should start by reviewing all of their social media accounts. They should then look at the things that they have posted and self-edit them. After the divorces are filed, social media accounts are often the targets of divorce lawyers. It may be smart to clean them up and then to take a break from posting for a while.

Can child support be modified if a parent develops a disability?

There are a variety of reasons for modifying a child custody agreement. One parent might need to relocate because of a job change. Alcoholism, drugs or violence may necessitate a modification.

A serious illness might require a change in the visitation schedule, which would lead to agreement modification. There might also be sufficient reason for a change to the agreement if one parent develops a disability, especially if it is the parent who provides child support.

Dealing with a bitcoin account in divorce

When a couple in Maryland is getting a divorce, and one person has a bitcoin account, this could raise several issues. Bitcoin could be an asset that is relatively easy to conceal. In fact, some websites encourage using it for this very purpose.

Another potential issue is how it should be valued. For example, the value of a bitcoin might be calculated at its purchase rate or its current market value. A spouse might also have a choice of how to take a share of a bitcoin account. There might be a lump sum payout, or a person might want a percentage of its value over a period of years.

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