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Gaithersburg Family Law Blog

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Answer these common divorce mediation questions

If you're interested in divorce mediation, it's critical to learn more about the process. Knowing what to expect will help you prepare for everything. It may even help you avoid confrontation and move things forward in an efficient manner.

It's common to have a variety of questions related to divorce mediation, including the following:

  • Is a divorce mediator the same as a family law judge? This is a common myth. A family law mediator is available to talk you through the process and help settle disputes. However, they don't have the power to make final decisions on behalf of either individual.
  • What's the first step in the process? The first step in divorce mediation is a meeting in which both individuals share information on what they want to accomplish. This is the time to discuss matters regarding property division, debt division, child support, child custody and alimony, among other details.
  • What's the best way to file court documents? After mediation comes to an end, there's still the act of filing the necessary court documents. Your divorce mediator may be able to assist with this. If not, they can point you in the right direction.
  • Are you able to consult with an attorney during divorce mediation? Just the same as litigation, you can work with a divorce attorney to ensure that you understand what you're doing and make the best decisions.
  • How long does it take? This depends on many factors, primarily the ability for you and the other individual to negotiate and compromise. Some people are able to work things out in one or two sessions, while others need five or more to get to the bottom of things.
  • Is it more affordable than litigation? Generally speaking, yes. Most people find that they're able to save money by opting for mediation over litigation. Talk to your attorney about this up front to get a better idea of the expense.

Studies find the main reasons for divorce

Divorce happens for many different reasons. Everyone's situation is a little bit different. Each case is unique. Even so, you can look at the general trends and see why divorce tends to happen.

In fact, a few studies simply asked couples why they decided to split up. Here are some of the main reasons that they gave:

  • They found out that they were not compatible after getting married
  • One person had an affair
  • One person struggled with drug use or excessive drinking
  • They felt like they simply grew apart over time
  • They were too young when they got married -- which could be why they grew apart
  • At least one person had a "lack of commitment" to the marriage
  • They did not do any preparation for the marriage in advance, or they did not do enough
  • They ran into serious financial problems that put stress on the marriage

Child support payments must cover certain necessities

One of the aspects of a child custody case that is often contentious is the child support. This financial support is paid by one parent to the other parent for the benefit of the children. It is used to pay for the expenses of the child; however, it is normally comingled with other household funds. The parent who receives the payments won't have to account for the use of the money. Instead, they simply have to ensure that the kids have life's basic necessities.

There are cases in which a paying parent might question whether the money is actually going to the children. In this instance, they need to look at whether the child has adequate shelter, food, clothing and other needs. As long as they do, there is very little chance that the court will do anything about how the parent is spending the funds that are handed over to them.

3 reasons you want an attorney for uncontested divorce

For couples seeking to end their marriages, uncontested divorces have become the new gold standard. With trendy celebrities bragging about their non-contentious divorces and society, as a whole, recognizing how conflict can damage the children from a marriage, people are paying more attention to the idea of uncontested divorce than they ever have before.

There are certainly many benefits that come from filing an uncontested divorce. The first and most obvious is that there won't be a protracted court battle. Instead, a judge simply needs to sign off on your paperwork.

Dealing with a noncompliant parent is often a challenge

Child custody orders are meant to provide instructions for the parents about how to raise their children between two homes. The terms provide stability and consistency for the children. But, have you ever thought about what happens if either parent stops abiding by the order? The answer to this isn't very simple at all. We are here to help you learn about your options for dealing with a noncompliant parent.

One thing that you must remember for child custody cases is that the court can't really force the parent to have interactions with the child. Some parents decide to just avoid seeing their children after a divorce. While this is certainly going to be hurtful for the child, you will have to help them learn how to cope with that and move forward with life.

Spousal support isn't automatic in divorce

Trying to determine whether alimony payments are appropriate for a divorce can be complicated. Support payment aren't guaranteed when a marriage ends. Instead, it is considered on a case-by-case basis. This can be determined in one of two ways. Either the parties come to an agreement, or the court will make a decision.

There are a many factors that come into the picture when trying to make a decision about alimony. One of these is the length of the marriage. Typically, short marriages won't have alimony if they end. Longer marriages are more likely to have spousal support payments.

Plan for the divorce before you file

There are several things that you have to think about when you are planning on filing for divorce. The planning that you do should start well in advance of you actually filing. This can help you to start your new life off on the best footing possible, and it can help you have what you need to get the settlement you deserve during the divorce.

One of the most important things that you can do is to grab important documents. This includes statements from financial accounts, copies of credit bills and similar paperwork. This can all come in handy when you are going through the property division aspect of the divorce. It ensures that you can accurately fill out the asset and debt forms, and it helps you ensure that your ex isn't trying to hide assets from you.

Where in the world are all the marital assets hidden?

Unfortunately, divorce can bring out some of a person's worst instincts. This is especially true if one of the divorcing spouses feels wronged and seeks vengeance through the property settlement portion of the divorce.

One way in which a spouse might try to thumb the scale in their favor is by hiding jointly owned marital assets. Spouses who allow their partners to handle all of the finances are particularly vulnerable to such deceptions.

Long-distance parenting plans must be comprehensive

Some careers, such as those in the military, pull parents away from their children. When the parents have gone through a divorce, one parent might remain in the area where the kids grew up while the other has to move on deployment. Dealing with child custody matters in these cases can be challenging.

When long-distance parenting is a concern, your parenting plan should have clear terms about what is going to happen. This ensures that both parents are on the same page and that the children have what they need to thrive.

Try to set parenting plan terms quickly during a divorce

Child custody cases take a toll on everyone involved. It can be hard for the children to get used to splitting their time between two homes. When the split first happens, the kids might wonder if everything will ever go back to something that resembles a normal life. You will have to help them adjust to the new way of life.

One way that you can do this is to get the child custody order in place as quickly as possible. If you and your ex can work together to come up with the terms of the parenting plan, you will likely be able to get this done faster than if you have to get the Court to set the terms. We can work with you to determine what options you have for this matter.

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