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Maryland divorce: What constitutes unfit parenting?

Making the decision to divorce may be one of the most stressful experiences of your life. It's common for such a decision to spark many lifestyle changes and challenges, especially regarding your children, if you're a parent. Many issues stem from child-related matters, such as those involving finances, selling or keeping your Maryland home, school issues, custody and other topics. If you're one of many parents who believe you should have sole custody of your kids, the court will expect you to have good reason.

If your ex is an unfit parent, you'll need to show evidence of this to convince a judge or jury that your kids are better off in your care only. Past marital problems are not necessarily relevant material as far as proving a parent unfit. The judge is likely not interested in the fact that your spouse never cleaned up after himself or herself, or never appreciated you. Such issues may indeed have been factors toward divorce but don't necessarily mean your ex shouldn't share custody.

Is an alimony order set in stone?

Are you divorced or preparing to end your marriage? Do you have concerns about alimony? If so, you are not alone. Numerous Maryland residents want to know if they can get spousal support or if they will have to pay it, and if any order issued is set in stone.

The truth is, no, an alimony order is not set in stone. The court can adjust it, under the right circumstances. Two acceptable reasons to request an alimony modification include:

  • Increase in living expenses
  • Change in monetary or personal circumstances

Parental alienation can be a serious post-divorce problem

When you decided to file for divorce in a Maryland court, you knew that your decision was going to have an impact on your children's lives. However, you also knew that you would build a strong support system around your kids to help them cope and move on in life. You adamantly believed that with the right amount of cooperation and compromise between you and your spouse, your children would be okay.

That's before you realized that your future former spouse had a different plan in mind, one that would attempt to alienate your children from you, to make you the bad guy, to impede your parent/child relationships and to flat-out undermine your parental authority and disregard your rights. Parental alienation causes serious contention and legal problems in many divorce situations. There are ways to rectify this type of problem.

Do you have a hidden asset problem on your hands?

If you're preparing for divorce, you are among hundreds, if not thousands, of other Maryland spouses who are currently doing the same. No two divorces pan out the same way, however. Some couples never step foot inside a courtroom, opting instead for mediation or collaborative sessions to settle their issues. Others wind up battling over child custody or property division matters in long, drawn-out litigation.  

Any number of problems may arise that impede your ability to achieve a swift and amicable divorce settlement. An issue that plagues many divorces is hidden assets. If your spouse's behavior has been suspicious since you filed divorce papers in court and the two of you are frequently fighting over money, you may want to closely observe the situation with objective eyes in case you have a hidden asset problem on your hands.  

The ins and outs of alimony in Maryland

In many marriages, it is not uncommon for one spouse to be financially dependent on the other. Maybe one is the breadwinner while the other stays at home or maybe both spouses work, but one's income is simply more than the other's is. When couples in this position divorce, the financially dependent spouse may need some support as he or she works toward achieving a solid economic standing. This is why alimony exists.

Maryland defines alimony as periodic payments to a former spouse. It is not a benefit awarded in all divorce cases. If it is included in your dissolution settlement, the amount you receive and the duration you receive it will depend on a number of factors.

Free apps and other ideas for military parents who divorce

As a member of the U.S. military in Maryland who also happens to be a parent, you likely already have a military family care plan in place. If not, you'll no doubt want to research the topic and execute a plan for instructions regarding financial care, medical care and other important aspects relating to your children for times that you must leave them while serving on active duty.

Life is generally somewhat more different for military families than it is for those in strictly civilian households. If you are contemplating filing or have recently filed for divorce (or received papers after your spouse has filed) you may want to think about how divorce may impact your existing family care plan. If you don't have a care plan in place, now's a good time to create one and incorporate various divorce-related matters into your plan.

Custody and visitation are unique issues for military families

Child custody is one of the most complex issues in any divorce, but it can be particularly difficult for Maryland military families. Service in the military can have a significant impact on how custody and visitation arrangements will work after the divorce is final. Families with one or two military members would be prudent to seek assistance as they address these sensitive issues.

As an active and loving parent, you have the right to play an important role in the life of your child. Children benefit when they have regular access to both parents after divorce. While military service can make custody and visitation difficult, it is possible to secure an arrangement that reflects both your rights as a parent and the best interests of your children.

Every divorce is unique, but many have similar elements

When you and your spouse were first dating, you may have spent hours in deep conversation. You likely shared your favorite movies, books and music, and you probably revealed your tastes in food and clothing. Maybe your talks went deeper, touching on religion, career and your preferences for children.

Where did all that go? Now that you and your spouse are considering divorce, you may be spending time wondering what went wrong. While many people say that they simply drifted apart, psychologists say it is often more than that. Most couples go through tough times, but the way they handle those challenges may decide if they divorce or stay together.

What does a bird's nest have to do with your divorce?

A new school year will soon begin in Maryland. If you're currently navigating divorce, you may be anxious and worried about child custody arrangements and how your children will handle school work while adapting to their new lifestyle. If things are fairly amicable between you and your former spouse, the school year may progress without much difficulty. In fact, when you're both willing to compromise and cooperate where necessary for the sake of your children, there may be options available to keep stress levels very low.

Have you heard of nesting in divorce? This is a fairly new trend designed to help children retain a sense of stability and routine while coming to terms with their parents' divorce. It's definitely not for everyone, but it may be an option if you're able to work together with your children's other parent and you want to minimize stress in their lives as you all adapt to no longer living together under one roof.

Should you consider a joint custody agreement?

Child custody is one of the most commonly contested issues in a divorce. Parents do not ever want to feel like they are giving up their relationship with their kids, and this desire can lead to lengthy court battles and costly litigation. However, for some Maryland families, there may be a better way to approach child custody.

With a joint custody agreement, parents can share both parenting time and legal responsibility of their children. This type of arrangement can allow children to have a strong relationship with both of their parents, even after a divorce is final, which is certainly in the best interests of the youngest members of your family.

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