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Gaithersburg Family Law Blog


Determining the amount of alimony in Maryland

Alimony can be a very contested topic when a couple gets divorced. One spouse might disagree with how much the other is requesting and vice versa. There are a handful of factors that go into determining the amount of alimony in a divorce in the state of Maryland.

Courts have a great deal of discretion when it comes to determining if alimony will be awarded and how long it will last. Many courts take the following factors into consideration when determining alimony amounts based on the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act:

How military life can affect child custody and divorce

Divorce and child custody matters are never easy. When you have to deal with these things while you are serving in the military, the difficulties increase. Yet this is the reality for some members of the military.

Service men and women have special considerations when they are in the midst of family law issues. It is imperative that you think carefully about both of the points below.

Retired Maryland Judge was able to make a difference

A recently retired Maryland Judge, Judge C. Philip Nichols Jr., reflected on his decades-long career on the bench and was happy to "be part of something that made a difference." The 19th Chief Judge of the 7th Judicial Circuit of Maryland in Prince George's County retired on his 70th birthday, which is the state-imposed retirement age for judges.

The Chief Judge presided over more than 70,000 cases in his career, including two death penalty cases, and signed more than 18,000 search warrants.

Child support and uninsured medical costs

On top of the agreed upon or mandated child support payments, parents are also required to pay any uninsured medical costs. These include co-payments, prescription bills, deductibles and any other costs that are either not covered under a parent's health plan or are not reimbursed by the insurance company that holds the plan.

If you are not the parent responsible for paying child support, but have incurred out of pocket health expenses that are either not covered by insurance or have not been reimbursed, you can attempt to collect this money. You would try to collect this money from the other parent of your children.

Are summer custody schedules getting on your last nerve?

Maryland parents and children alike often chafe at the constraints of summer custody and visitation arrangements.

Non-custodial parents who spend extended chunks of time with their children over the summer break sometimes resent that they have to continue paying child support to their children's other parent even though they are the ones who are currently responsible for the care and feeding of the kids. They think that they should get a break and not have to pay as much, or any, child support during the summer.

Is your former spouse limiting or denying your visitation?

Child custody and asset division can often bring out the worst in both former spouses during a divorce. You both may want full custody, or your ex may have received temporary custody during divorce proceedings. When that happens, the courts will typically issue court orders requiring you, the non-custodial parent, to pay child support.

There will also be a court order requiring your former spouse to allow you with liberal and reasonable visitation. Many times, the courts are specific about visitation. You may be appointed specific days, holidays or alternating weekends to spend with your children.

Divorce issues that arise when splitting later in life

Divorces that occur later in life, after the age of 50, are usually referred to as gray divorces. These divorces can be a little more complicated compared to the ones that happen earlier in life, before wills, trusts, and inheritances come into play for most. Here are some common divorce issues that arise when splitting up later in life.

When you file for divorce over the age of 50, you put yourself into a financial problem right off the bat. You have less time to recover financially when divorcing over the age of 50. You will also have less time to recover socially and emotionally from the separation, unless you knew it's been coming for years.

What will Maryland do to enforce child support orders?

For some parents, getting a divorce is an opportunity for a fresh start. You are leaving behind an unhappy or unhealthy relationship and seeking a better life for you and your children. The courts granted you custody or perhaps your former spouse didn't seek custody of your children. Whatever the situation, you are now expected, on your own, to provide for your children. It can be incredibly difficult for people to cover all of the financial requirements of parenthood on their own, especially right after a divorce. That's why the parent who doesn't get custody should pay child support.

Maryland looks at a number of factors when setting child support amounts. The income of both parents, as well as special needs of the children, get considered. Costs like health care and child care get factored into the final figure. For custodial parents, child support represents only a fraction of what it costs to care for children in any given month. For non-custodial parents, even a low and reasonable child support payment may seem unfair and burdensome. This can lead to a lapse in payment or a refusal to pay even from the earliest stages of divorce. These situations may need enforcement efforts.

Common child custody mistakes made by single parents

It's never easy raising child alone. It can be even more difficult when a single parent has to head to court to fight a child custody battle he or she thought would never come. Mistakes can happen during the process and may hurt the outcome you were hoping for in the custody fight.

It's never a good idea to make the child custody case all about how you were failed by your ex. Presenting yourself like this in court makes you appear to be angry and bitter. It could also lead the judge to believe that you will not try to collaborate with your ex. The judge will want the focus of the case to be your child.

How to know you are ready for a divorce

The topic of divorce is no longer a taboo. In fact, so many couples get divorced that it has become a common occurrence in Maryland. No matter how long your marriage lasted, it can still be difficult to determine if it's time for divorce. Here are some common questions to ask yourself to determine if divorce is appropriate for you and your spouse.

The first question is the most obvious one: Do you still have feelings for your spouse? Many people who want to file for divorce claim they still have feelings for their spouse. The issue at hand is that there's a power struggle between the two. Your best bet here is to work on the relationship first before making a decision about divorce.

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