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Rockville, Maryland, Family Law Blog

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.

5 steps for establishing paternity in Maryland

If you have a child outside of marriage, you may be wondering what your rights are as a father. Establishing your paternal rights is important to both you and your child. Your child deserves to have both parents in his or her life. Financial support is only one of many reasons your child needs you. Your emotional support and love are even more important. In Maryland, there are two ways to establish paternity. You can file an Affidavit of Parentage or request a court order. Here are five steps to follow:

What to look for regarding possible divorce

Not all marriages will end happily ever after. That's the sad truth about the world today. People fall out of love with each other. They fall in love with others. They have arguments that seem to never end. Money problems get in the way of the relationship. Ideas of life together change. All of these are reasons that a marriage can end in divorce. But, do you know the signs of an impending divorce?

Take a look at some of those signs:

Show your kids that you care on child visitation days

After you've won the battle to prove paternity and gained the visitation rights you so desperately desire, what's next? It's time to enjoy your visitation days with your kids to the max! To help you connect with your kids on visitation days, you might want to try these ideas on for size:

Get into the world of your kids: No matter what age they are, your children probably have some interests of their own. They will love it when you try to explore and learn about their interests with them. If your child likes dinosaurs, go to the library and look for books on the scaly creatures. If your child likes video games, see if you can learn to play his or her favorite one. If your child likes dancing and ballet, see if you can enjoy this activity with him or her.

Are married men earning more?

When people think of an ex-spouse paying alimony, it is sometimes easy to assume the man is the one paying the price. Stereotypical thoughts aside, this outdated perception is not so outdated, after all.

According to a St. Louis Federal Reserve report, married men are far outpacing single men and their female counterparts in wages and salary. The data suggests married life offers exclusive financial benefits for the male spouse, but not so much for the wife.

Preparing children for an upcoming divorce

Marriages end and couples split up in Maryland for any number of reasons. Some former spouses wish to cut their ex out of their life for good, but that isn't a viable or reasonable option for those who share children from the marriage. No matter the dynamic between the parents, the interests of children have to come first.

When it comes time to tell children about an impending divorce, parents would do well to take some time to prepare for this conversation before diving in. Each family unit is unique, so no one plan will work for every situation. That said, consider some useful, general tips for breaking the news of a divorce to the children in an effective, compassionate manner.

Does alimony still serve a purpose?

If you are the so-called "moneyed spouse" who is about to pay a great deal of money each month in alimony to your ex-spouse, you may be of the opinion that alimony is an antiquated concept that should be relegated to the history books. While, in some contexts, you may have a point -- this is a highly debated topic in the age of family law reform and feminism.

There are several important reasons why alimony still exists:

When does alimony end?

Many types of court orders can come out of a Maryland divorce. One is an alimony award. When one person is ordered to pay alimony to another, how long does this obligation last?

It depends. For one, the specific terms of the alimony award have an impact on this front. Generally, among the things courts set in such an order is the period of time that alimony is to be paid.

Can I seek additional parenting time or custody?

There are so many extenuating circumstances that may make it difficult for a divorced parent to see their child. Maybe at the time an existing order was created your work schedule made visitation impossible; maybe you didn't have a residence suitable for a child; maybe transportation was an issue.

Whatever the reasons were, let's assume they are no longer an issue. Life never stands still, and people's positions are often improving. This leaves a major question: can I seek additional time with my child now?

Why a prenuptial agreement might be a good idea

People in Maryland who are getting married may want to consider a prenup, particularly if they own a business, have a blended family or are getting married for the second time. A person who is bringing assets into the marriage may want a prenup that will protect those assets.

The same may be true if one spouse is likely to run up debts. With a prenup, the other spouse will not be saddled with those debts if the two divorce. If one person has a business and there is no prenup, in a divorce, the spouse could get part of the business. A prenup can even be used to decide who will get the pets.

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