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Rockville, Maryland, Family Law Blog

If you're protecting your kids, can you break custody orders?

There is never a time when parents want to see their children in danger or getting hurt. Sadly, there are cases of domestic violence that involve children. One parent may be verbally abusive, physically violent or be harmful in other ways.

If you find out that your child is in harm's way, you will likely stop at nothing to keep them safe, but can you break the custody order without the potential to lose custody completely? The answer is yes, so long as you have reasonable concerns.

A prenuptial agreement can make property division easier

By now, most people understand that prenuptial agreements are for everyone and not just for the very wealthy. Still, you might not be sure whether signing a prenup is right for you. There are still many misconceptions about what a prenuptial agreement does and how it can protect you and your soon-to-be spouse.

Some people fear that signing a prenuptial agreement is a sign that their marriage will end in divorce. Others worry about how it will look if they ask for a prenup. Here are a few prenuptial agreement basics that can help you decide what is best for your relationship.

Raise your child with the same expectations: Parenting plans

When you and your spouse struggled to agree on how to raise your child while you were married, you thought that the issue was down to different parenting styles. Today, as you go through divorce, you believe it's more to do with control.

However, you and your ex-spouse can't continue to fight and raise your child. It's not fair, and it won't give your child the security they need to grow up strong and independent. You and your ex-spouse should consider a firm parenting plan long before you finalize your divorce, so you know what you expect from one another.

Should you set up an automatic withdrawal for child support?

Child support is not about the parents, it's about the children in their lives. Children in Maryland have a right to receive support from both parents, regardless of how their parents feel about one another.

When a parent is not good about paying child support on time or would like to make sure that they're always paying by direct withdrawal, the support amount can be withheld from their paycheck. There is a limit on how much money can be taken. The Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act, CCPA, is the basis for the limit.

Understand alimony pendente lite and your rights

There are a few kinds of alimony in Maryland. These include alimony pendente lite, temporary alimony and indefinite alimony. Most people have heard of rehabilitative and indefinite alimony, but if you haven't heard of pendente lite, you're not alone.

Alimony pendente lite refers to alimony that you receive between the time when you file for your divorce and when the divorce is final. This kind of alimony is typically ordered to maintain your "status quo" throughout the divorce. While it's helpful, getting pendente lite alimony does not guarantee that you will receive alimony of another sort following your divorce.

Should you try to move away with your child?

You have been offered a great new job, and you want to take it so that you can provide a better life for your child. Unfortunately, your ex-spouse doesn't agree with you that moving your child is the right choice. They have argued that you need to stay or leave your child where they are with them.

If you decide to take the case to court, you need to be prepared for the questions the judge will ask. The judge will want to know that you're making decisions that are in your child's best interests. If the other parent is not involved in their life, then there is a great likelihood that the judge will grant your relocation request. However, if the other parent is an active part of your child's life, the judge may not see the benefit of separating the child and their other parent through a long-distance relationship without strong support for doing so.

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.

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