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Howard County Divorce Law Blog

Sorting through property division complications in Maryland

There are only nine states in the nation govern property issues in divorce under community property laws. Maryland is not one of them. In this state (as the majority of others) property division is determined by equitable distribution guidelines, meaning the court decides how to fairly divide all assets in divorce although division is not always 50/50. Complications often arise regarding what is (or isn't) marital property.

Many couples commingle nonmarital and marital funds during marriage, and use such funds to make payments on jointly owned property, such as a mortgage on the marital home. When the separate property of one spouse is commingled with marital property, that separate property could become subject to division as marital property. It's crucial to seek clarification regarding such laws if you're concerned about a particular issue.

Is Maryland law fair when it comes to child custody situations?

Going through divorce in Maryland or any other state is seldom an easy process. Especially if children are involved, spouses may face tremendous challenges when attempting to develop new parenting plans. The court has the final say in all child custody matters; so, if parents disagree, they must abide by any order the court determines appropriate to their particular circumstances.

A man in a neighboring state has launched a peaceful public protest, saying he does not think he was treated fairly by the judge with regard to his personal custody arrangement. The man said he adamantly believes that, if there are no extenuating circumstances to convince the court that time with one parent or the other would pose as a detriment to children, then the law should automatically grant equal shared custody between the two. He began standing outside the courthouse, holding a sign expressing his opinions, after he learned that the court did not decide along those lines in his case.

Child custody situation complicated by criminal charges

Raising children is often a rewarding and joyous experience although it is seldom without its challenges. Any Maryland parent currently facing child custody difficulties knows how true this is. Many such problems can be amicably resolved without going court; however, in situations where one parent accuses the other of disobeying a court order, emotions may become a bit heated and circumstances even more complicated.

A 26-year-old woman in another state not only has ongoing child custody problems but she's now facing criminal charges related to the issue as well. In April, she reportedly went to a museum where her 2-year-old child was at the time. She is accused of leaving with the child, which supposedly violated an existing court order prohibiting her from such actions.

Judge allows new parenting plans to take effect for Jenelle Evans

There may be Maryland parents currently facing serious challenges with regard to custody of their children. Developing parenting plans after divorce or in unmarried situations can be especially challenging. Teen Mom 2 star Jenelle Evans knows all about the topic, as she and her estranged mother have been fighting over her 7-year-old son for quite some time.

The boy lives with his grandmother, who heretofore has highly restricted her own daughter's visits with the child. However, the younger Evans won a small victory in court recently when the judge ruled that such restrictions can no longer be made. Jenelle Evans says she looks forward to spending much more time with her child, and she plans to return to court when the time is right to continue fighting for full custody.

Divorce doesn't mean you abdicate your property rights

Should the house be sold? Who gets the car? Where will the children spend summer vacations? These are but a few of many questions commonly addressed by Maryland couples who divorce. While each spouse may have definite opinions regarding such issues, it doesn't necessarily mean they are like-minded in their views.

Especially where property division is concerned, things can get pretty messy. Avoiding emotionally charged debates is often easier if a clear understanding of property division laws and legal proceedings is obtained before going to court. This state happens to be part of the majority where such matters are governed by equitable distribution laws.

Can new parenting plans lead to better parenting skills?

Maryland parents who have divorced may agree that the process can be extremely challenging at times, especially where children are concerned. Amicably navigating the family law system while keeping children's best interests at heart is typically a main goal of most parents who divorce. Parenting plans obviously change when married couples choose to sever their ties. Adjusting to new situations often evokes strong emotions, including (for many) guilt.

One mom said she often feels guilty when her daughters are with their father. She sees her girls every other weekend, and on the days they're away, she has lots of time to herself. This took much getting used to after divorce, she says, and often causes her to feel guilty, as though she has to make up for lost time when her daughters come to spend the night.

Should classes be part of parenting plans after divorce?

Many Maryland parents would cringe if they learned they were required by law to take co-parenting classes with their former spouses. This, however, is exactly what happens for parents of minor children in another state. The law (and subsequent parenting-class program) is meant to lessen the negative impact divorce tends to have on young children. It's true that many post-divorce problems have to do with parenting plans; so, perhaps taking a class or two together might indeed be of benefit for some.

Some of the most common negative effects reported for children whose parents divorce include behavior regression, depression and problems in school. In fact, the woman who leads a co-parenting class in another state says it often takes young children as long as five years to recover from their parents' divorce. She and other state officials hope to help parents learn to communicate more effectively after divorce, which, in turn, may help children better adapt to their situations.

How summer vacation plans can affect child custody situations

Many Maryland parents are currently navigating divorce. It's safe to assume that in most of these situations, major life changes have accompanied their decisions to sever marital ties in court. The biggest changes often involve children; it's not always easy to develop a new parenting plan without facing several challenges along the way. With summer vacation time fast-approaching, some parents might be worried whether plans for the summer will somehow cause obstacles in their child custody or visitation situations.

So many issues need to be negotiated when parents of young children decide not to keep their marriages intact. Children are obviously impacted by such decisions, and most parents strive to come up with plans that keep their best interests at heart. While many former couples are able to cooperate and compromise, others can barely exist in the same room without discord.

Affleck and Garner make parenting plans in divorce look easy

Casual passers-by in Maryland might not realize Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are currently navigating divorce proceedings if they were to see them in a local restaurant or park. In fact, many people in another state recently saw the former couple coming out of church together on Easter Sunday. That's why some readers may be surprised to learn the parents of three recently filed for divorce and are likely negotiating new parenting plans.

Affleck and Garner have been separated more than two years. They have three children who range in ages from 5 to 11. Sources say the two are determined to make their children's best interests the focal point of their marital split.

How will property division affect your future following divorce?

Any Maryland resident who has ever navigated divorce proceedings may understand how complicated and stressful the process can be. Although many people determine severance of marital ties as the most viable solution to their problems, some are completely blindsided and taken aback by the various challenges and issues that often arise during proceedings. In addition to child custody matters and other decisions regarding children, the topic of property division is typically high on the list of potentially contentious issues.

In the United States, there are currently nine equitable property distribution states where the court determines how best to divide marital assets fairly in divorce. This, however, does not necessarily mean said property will be divided 50/50. Maryland is not one of those nine states; thereby, all assets considered jointly owned in marriage will, in fact, be split equally in divorce.

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