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Rockville, Maryland, Family Law Blog

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.

How can you divide your property during divorce in Maryland?

Dividing your property may not be easy, depending on how long you've been married and how intertwined your finances are. Maryland is an equitable distribution state, so you and your spouse are not guaranteed to receive 50% of your marital property. Instead, you will need to negotiate to determine a fair split of your property. If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it will take precedent as long as it is valid.

There are many assets that you may have that are considered marital property. For example, some common assets include:

  • Personal vehicles
  • Shared savings or checking accounts
  • Homes or other properties
  • Furniture
  • Boats
  • Artwork
  • Stocks and bonds

Decide on a custody schedule to move forward with divorce

Divorce is hard enough, but when you have children involved, the complexity increases significantly. You want to guarantee that your child has the best possible future. That means that you and your spouse have to work together to raise them despite your disagreements and history.

Child custody arrangements can be difficult to agree on but by no means impossible. There are dozens of ways to arrange custody, and each situation may require creative thinking to get the schedule just right. It is most important that you and your spouse will be able to agree on a custody schedule after your divorce and be flexible if and when minor changes are needed.

Divorce: It can prompt back-to-school problems

You're likely one of many Maryland parents who is feeling a bit overwhelmed at this time as you gear up for another back-to-school season. Perhaps, you have a child who is entering Kindergarten or a growing teenager who is starting his or her senior year. You might be filled with emotion, wondering where time has gone.

If you also happen to be one of many Maryland parents who filed for divorce over the summer, you might be concerned about your children's ability to cope and concerned about how your situation might affect their back-to-school season. It's definitely true that kids often experience a wide range of emotions when their parents divorce. However, if you build a strong support network from the start, your children will likely fare well.

For financial security during divorce: Get a budget

When you divorce, one of the things you may worry about is your financial independence. You might have relied on your spouse for money, or you may have only worked part-time while you cared for your family. Now, as you divorce, you may not be on sure financial footing.

To stay secure during and after your divorce, you need to have a clear head when you work through your property division settlement and while you get your budget in order during your divorce. You must know the expenses you have and what you need to be able to survive after your divorce. If you were the lesser-earning spouse, you may be able to seek help through spousal support or be able to ask for a greater portion of assets to help you get by.

You may have a right to alimony: Find out more

Alimony can be a difficult topic to bring up, but if you've been a stay-at-home parent, it's one that you may need to talk about sooner rather than later.

When you have put your career aside for your spouse, it's fair to ask that they compensate you as you get back into the workforce. That is part of the reason that some people seek alimony. Alimony can be a good way to get some additional income, so you're able to focus on advancing your own career without the stress of financial worries.

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