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Howard County MD Family Law Blog

Top things Maryland parents should say to their kids in a divorce

It is never easy to go through the end of a relationship, whether one is living in Maryland or elsewhere. This can be particularly true if children are involved. Parents who want to minimize the negative fallout from the dissolution of their marriage may choose to participate in mediation or collaborative divorce. Open communication plays a large part in the success of either. The following are some common topics that could be addressed during the process.

You are not to blame. It doesn't matter how old the child is when divorce occurs -- he or she will want to know why it is happening. It is important to offer regular validation that they do not share any responsibility for what's taking place.

Having an amicable divorce, is there really such a thing?

Thanks to the recent split of Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband Chris Martin, news stations and social media have been questioning the reality of amicable divorces. As many Maryland couples who have been down this road before can attest, divorce isn't easy. Emotions are typically running high and finding common ground and creating a fair settlement often seems far from reach, especially if children are involved.

It is no secret that children are affected by their parents' divorce. If the situation is tension-filled and seems bitter, children will notice and it can greatly affect their emotional state. There are some things parents can do to help their children through this difficult and often devastating process.

Financial spring cleaning aids Maryland couples' divorce efforts

Spring brings with it a renewed sense of purpose. As the weather turns warmer, it is not uncommon to get the urge to do a little spring cleaning. For couples in Maryland and elsewhere who are going through a divorce, it may be as important to do financial spring cleaning as it is to sort through cluttered closets. Here are some tips to get started.

Organize the paper trail. During a divorce, many documents will be needed to keep the proceedings moving forward. If they are organized and readily available, it will make things easier for everyone involved.

Divorce mistakes Maryland couples should avoid in social media

The end of a relationship can often be a trying and emotional time, whether a person is living in Maryland or elsewhere. Although it may appear to improve one's outlook to vent about an ongoing divorce or annoying soon-to-be ex, it can rarely help the situation -- especially when the complaints are made public through social media venues like Facebook or Twitter. What are the most common mistakes people make and how can they be avoided? Here are a few tips.

Social media is both public and permanent. Don't make the mistake of assuming a Facebook post or blog entry can only be seen by the people who have authorized access. Deleting posts later is not a good option either. Once something is posted, it's out there. If someone is looking, chances are good that it can be found.

Beyonce's father granted reduction in child support payments

Maryland readers of this blog may be interested to learn about a recent decision to lower the child support payments owed by the father of singer and celebrity Beyonc Knowles. Matthew Knowles reportedly fathered a son. He was married to another woman at the time. He was originally ordered to pay $12,000 monthly for child support.

Knowles asked for the reduced payment amount because he said his income has been lessened dramatically. He said the change came after Beyonc let him know his services as her manager were no longer needed. He does not mention the famous singer by name, but the implication is clear from a reading of the court documents.

Are divorce rates up or down for Maryland's married couples?

For nearly the past 30 years, officials and statisticians have reported that the divorce rate is diminishing at a steady rate. This has been true for Maryland's couples as well as those living in other states. Well-respected studies and experts have proclaimed that the number of people going through a divorce reached its height at the end of the 1970s and has been going down ever since. This may not be accurate.

A new study is challenging some frequently held beliefs. Its findings indicate that the divorce rate has not been decreasing over the past three decades as was commonly thought. Instead, the study says, the numbers have been increasingly steadily.

Maryland business owners should protect assets during divorce

The end of a marriage is a challenging time for most Maryland couples. A lot of issues typically need to be addressed, from child support to property division. If one spouse owns a business and fails to plan ahead, those assets may also end up being split, jeopardizing the future of the company and the spouse's income. Taking preventive measures to protect the business may go a long way to minimize the potential impact of divorce.

Before the wedding, a business owner can take steps to divorce-proof his or her company. This can be done through a prenuptial agreement that lists the business as individual property, exempt from the division of marital assets upon divorce. If it is too late for a prenup, a postnuptial agreement can accomplish the same goal.

Valentine's Day divorce not uncommon in Maryland

For many couples in Maryland and elsewhere, Valentine's Day is the holiday when roses and romance take center stage. They celebrate by going dancing together or out for a special dinner at a restaurant that may be a bit of a splurge. For some, however, Valentine's Day holds a different connotation -- it is the day they filed for divorce.

According to officials, some people use the fact that it is Valentine's Day to make a special point about their marriage. They choose the day that is supposed to be the most romantic to mark the end of a relationship that they no longer see as such. It is a conscious decision meant to send a message that the romance, at least in this particular instance, is over.

Errors Maryland couples could avoid when going through divorce

Going through a divorce can be an emotional and stressful experience. Unfortunately, being exposed to such high levels of stress could drive a person to feel anger and act in malicious ways, which may be out of character. Maryland residents who are in the process of going through a divorce may want to avoid certain foolish errors that are commonly made by people who are angered and emotional.

One of the common mistakes for a spouse to avoid is purposely increasing the legal costs of the litigation. This action is often made out of vengeance and can be financially detrimental to both parties. Another error to avoid is the failure to attend to future financial planning. Being prepared for all the extra expenses associated with operating independently may help each party to better adapt to his or her new circumstances.

Avoid mistakes when claiming alimony post- divorce

Few things are less appealing than going through a divorce. Filing one's taxes, however, can come in a close second. For Maryland couples who are still in the midst of divorce or who have recently finalized the end of their marriage, tax matters can become complicated. Avoiding mistakes is key for those who wish to prevent an audit. The manner in which alimony is claimed on one's tax return is one of the leading causes of red flags at the Internal Revenue Service.

The spouse who pays alimony can claim the expense as a deduction on his or her tax return. The receiving spouse is not taxed on alimony, but must state the amount of payments received on their tax return. When these numbers differ on the two returns, the IRS will often take a closer look at the discrepancy.