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Howard County Divorce Law Blog

Woman says she never dreamed she'd face this child custody battle

When Maryland parents divorce, the court often devises orders that provide explicit instructions for parenting plans. Every family situation is different; therefore, individual plans can be customized to meet the needs of those involved. When a child custody problem arises, the court is the final voice of authority.

In some situations, however, such as a particular incident a woman in another state is currently facing, problems develop that reach far beyond where a child will spend a birthday or the next holiday. In fact, this woman's case has become an international issue because her son's father, who lives in Malta, has refused to return the child to the United States. An existing court order required the mother to allow overseas visits to occur between her son and his dad.

Parenting plans have gone awry for Johansson and Dauriac

Actress Scarlett Johansson has formally filed for divorce from the husband from whom she's been separated for a while now, Romain Dauriac. The two have a daughter together. She has been living with her father for many months, but depending on the outcome of the case, that might change. Maryland spouses currently negotiating parenting plans in divorce can likely relate to their situation.

Dauriac and Johansson had planned to open a gourmet popcorn shop in France but took up separate residences before ever celebrating their opening day. Dauriac's attorney said his client was reportedly very shocked to learn that Johansson had "created a public spectacle"  by filing divorce papers. Johansson asked for the utmost privacy from those involved and the press, saying she is mindful of the fact that her daughter will be old enough to read the news someday.

Once agreed always agreed: Not for Kate Hudson's parenting plans

Although most Maryland parents who divorce hope to achieve fair and agreeable settlements, especially regarding issues involving their children, it doesn't always turn out that way. Sometimes an agreement is reached, but as time goes on, something (or someone) changes and, before long, a parent is back in court requesting that existing parenting plans or visitation agreements in a particular situation be re-evaluated. This is what's currently happening with Kate Hudson and her first husband.

The two were married approximately seven years before they split. In that time, they had a son, who is now age 12. When they divorced, they agreed to a shared custody arrangement.

Child custody and tax time: What do they have in common?

Maryland parents who divorced this year have likely faced numerous challenges regarding new parenting plans and lifestyle changes. Child custody issues often continue to arise long after divorce is finalized. Many adults, who also happen to be divorced parents, are also currently facing challenges associated with their federal income taxes. The two issues (child custody and taxes) often collide when questions surface regarding which parent gets to claim the children as dependents.

Especially in shared custody situations, disagreements surrounding tax issues are not uncommon. Federal law is fairly explicit when it comes to whom can be claimed as a dependent on someone's tax returns. For instance, to claim as a child as a dependent, there are four key determining factors that must be met.

Sheriff's department ups safety measures for child custody issues

Maryland parents who have gone through divorce understand how stressful the process can be. Most want what's best for their children and are willing to cooperate and compromise to construct plans that help everyone involved move forward in positive directions while maintaining healthy, active parent/child relationships. When a severe communication breakdown occurs between parents, however, serious child custody problems often arise.

As children get used to spending time in two different homes after their parents divorce, they are often driven by one parent to be "delivered" to the other. These exchanges don't always go so well. In fact, there have been past situations where arguments and/or assaults have occurred during the process. A sheriff's department in a neighboring state has taken steps to upgrade safety for parents and children alike.

Property division not always equal in Maryland

When a married couple moves to Maryland, they might not be aware of all the laws that govern family-related matters throughout the state. For instance, most newly married couples are not concerned with property division laws or other regulations regarding divorce. They obviously expect their unions to last a lifetime and typically have other things on their mind when beginning their new life together.

It's no secret that many Maryland marriages end in divorce, however. When such situations arise, property division laws come into play. Therefore, it's often helpful to review such laws ahead of time so as to be able to make informed decisions as the divorce process unfolds.

Negotiating parenting plans regarding primary caretaker issues

Many Maryland parents are familiar with the divorce process and how easily obstacles can arise, especially regarding child custody and related issues. Most parents agree that children's best interests are of paramount importance when developing new parenting plans for the future. Problems tend to surface, however, when the parties disagree about who should be designated the primary caretaker and/or who should have physical and legal custody of children.  

Each state has its own guidelines regarding how to determine which parent is the primary caretaker. While it is typically understood that such tasks include provision for food, shelter and clothing, there are several other key factors that are non-physical in nature. For instance, a court might also consider what children's routines were during their parents' marriage; in other words, with which parent did they spend most of their time? Things like support and encouragement in extracurricular activities, helping with homework and spending leisure time together are additional considerations that may bear significant impact on defining the role of a primary caretaker.  

No apparent grounds to keep Brad Pitt from child custody

Many Brad Pitt fans in Maryland and throughout the nation have been rallying behind him and keeping close tabs on news updates regarding his contentious divorce from former wife, Angelina Jolie. The two have been in and out of court, mostly fighting over child custody of their six children. Jolie has made repeated accusations of abuse against Pitt, but so far, none of the investigations have produced evidence of her claims.

Challenges related to parenting plans are not uncommon in divorce, even for those whose lives are not plastered all over the internet for the public to read about. However, it can be especially troubling for parents who have been falsely accused of substance abuse, or emotional or physical abuse of their children. There have, in fact, been many situations in the past where an angry parent makes unfounded allegations against the other in an attempt to delay proceedings, exact revenge or obtain sole custody of children.

Weighing the pros and cons of legal separation

Many married couples in Maryland have gone through or are currently facing serious relationship problems. Some will wind up getting divorced. Others may determine that legal separation is a more viable option in their particular situations. No two marriages are exactly alike; therefore, what works for one couple may prove disastrous for another.

It often helps to seek outside guidance to help with major life decisions, such as whether a marriage should end in divorce or be put on hold in a legal separation. The latter allows spouses to live apart while keeping their legal union intact. Much like divorce, however, legal separation requires the court's approval and/or final decisions for property division, child custody arrangements and other related matters.

When it looks like New Year parenting plans will involve divorce

Families throughout Maryland and the nation often view January as a month of new beginnings. Along with other New Year resolutions, many determine to eat healthier, exercise more or pursue a personal dream, such as launching a new business. Chances are, new parenting plans will be added to the mix for some, including those that involve divorce and child-rearing issues.

In legal circles, the first month of a new year is colloquially referred to as "divorce month" because the amount of divorce papers served increases exponentially at this time. Whether January is the optimum time to end a marriage is up for debate, however. In fact, some say if a couple considering divorce has children, they may want to ride out a month or two in a new year in case they ultimately decide against it.

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