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Rockville Maryland Family Law Blog

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.

What to do about parental alienation

For some Maryland divorcees, parental alienation may happen gradually. This is a process in which a child is manipulated by one parent to turn against the other. At the start, an ex may badmouth the targeted parent and come up with excuses to delay or cancel child visitation.

Later, that child might appropriate the ex's negative language to denigrate the targeted parent. The child might also be suddenly combative and behave in an entitled way regarding gifts. However, the child will often say that these behavioral changes have nothing to do with the other parent and originate with the child.

Divorce issues at the holidays

Individuals who are going through a divorce in Maryland and elsewhere around the country may find that the holidays are a time of heightened tension. This is often particularly true if the divorcing couple has children, but it can even be difficult for those who are childfree.

The end of a marriage is often a time of heightened emotions. Getting these emotions under control can help everyone involved have a more enjoyable season. Parents should prioritize their children at this time and not insist on being inflexible about visitation schedules. Both parents can also begin to create new holiday traditions with their kids.

Separating accounts and credit during divorce

For Maryland couples who are going through a divorce, one important step might be to close any joint accounts and open new individual ones. If spouses have accounts on which the other person is named as an authorized user, the user should be removed. These actions protect people from the other party being able to take all of the money from an account or for running up charges for which both are later responsible. It also gives people the opportunity to start to establish their own credit histories.

Shared debts are usually split during a divorce, so people should not pay more than they owe. The exception is if a spouse is not going to pay the bill and it is going to hurt the other person's credit. In that case, the person may need to make the payment.

If divorce is looming, be careful what you post online

You may have inadvertently discovered that social media posts can be problematic because of the information your spouse has been sharing online. It is a good lesson to learn.

Any information your spouse emails, texts or posts online can become evidence in divorce court, and is therefore potentially damaging to the case he thought he had.

How to decide whether to get a prenuptial agreement

Some Maryland couples who are planning on getting married might wonder whether they need to get a prenuptial agreement. There are several circumstances in which this may be the right choice.

For example, if a person owns a business, a prenup may be necessary. Without a prenup, a person who owns a business might be required to share a portion of the business with the spouse in the case of a divorce. If either spouse has debt, a prenup can protect each of them from being responsible for the other's debt. Some couples may have complex premarital assets that include not just a family business but also real estate, investments and more. A prenup can also protect a person if the couple moves to another state. For example, Maryland is not a community property state, but California is. If a couple moves there, marital property might be divided equally if there is not a prenup.

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