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Steven J. Gaba
Phone: 301-738-7770

Bethesda MD Family Law Blog

How can I maintain the peace during the holidays?

Maryland couples who’ve recently gone through a divorce may be dreading the upcoming holiday season. After all, things like scheduling and navigating family conflict can be extremely difficult, especially when the pain of separation is still fresh on a couple’s mind. That’s why VeryWellFamily.com recommends the following advice, which can help you keep stress to a minimum for you and your children.

Consider having your own celebration

How can I keep my house after a divorce?

If you are approaching the end of your marriage in Maryland, you are no doubt concerned about what assets you might lose in the process. You may also be worried about the prospect of having to move out of your family home, especially if you have young kids who live with you. While many couples do end up selling their homes during a divorce, it may be possible for you to keep yours. Before you make this decision, however, it is important that you understand what may be involved in making this happen.

As explained by Bankrate, the first thing you should know is that if you currently have a joint mortgage, both you and your spouse will remain legally responsible for that debt unless your lender agrees to remove your to-be former spouse from the loan. If your bank will not agree to do this, you might then want to consider obtaining an all-new mortgage in your name only.

Passing on the potential of being an adult guardian

Witnessing a family member or friend having to deal with the restraints of incapacity can be heartbreaking. Most value their independence, and as such, also want others to enjoy theirs as much as possible. Yet sometimes, intercession is often required in order for one not fully capable of supporting themselves to be protected. Accepting the responsibility of acting as a guardian, however, can be quite a challenge. 

The priorities of appointment for adult guardianships have been detailed on this blog in the past. A quick review of them reveals that the courts favor family members or those with whom the proposed ward already has an established relationship. For some of those legally viewed as being the best to assume the role of guardian, the job may seem too overwhelming. In such a case, the need to protect the ward must be balanced by the reluctance to not overburden another with such an awesome responsibility. Fortunately, the law offers a potential solution. 

Is joint custody right for you?

As a parent in Maryland who is soon getting a divorce, you have plenty of questions that you'll need to ask yourself. How do you want to proceed? What property will you split? And more importantly, how will you and your partner handle raising a child together after the divorce?

Joint custody is one of the many options available. FindLaw defines it as a custody situation in which both parents share an equal amount of rights and responsibilities. This can apply to two things: physical custody and legal custody.

How much does divorce mediation cost?

Your divorce can not only exact heavy toll on your emotions, but also your wallet. Alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation have long been praised as being low-cost alternatives to traditional legal proceedings in Rockville. Yet exactly how much more money can divorce mediation save you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse? It may be difficult to answer that question given the unique elements associated with mediation. A better way to identify the cost-savings achieved through mediation may be to understand why traditional divorce proceedings can cost so much. 

As you and your ex-spouse work your way through your proceedings, there are bound to be disagreements along the way. When arguing your case in traditional court, these disagreements can prolong proceeding, requiring follow-up hearings in order to come to resolutions. The result of this is more money spent consulting with attorneys and in paying court costs (which are not cheap). 

Dealing with family use personal property

The common assumption held by many in Rockville may be that when a couple chooses to get a divorce, all of their marital property will be equitably split between them. While the court does indeed attempt to ensure that whatever property division settlement that comes out of divorce proceedings is fair, that does not necessarily mean that all of a divorcing couple's property will literally be split up equally. This is especially true in cases where a couple has children. In such a scenario, the idea of "family use personal property" comes into play. 

"Family use personal property" is defined as any whose primary purpose is to support a family's daily functions. According to the Maryland Department of Human Services, this can include: 

  • Homes
  • Vehicles
  • Furniture
  • Appliances 

How are business assets divided in a divorce?

A great deal of hard work no doubt went into establishing your business in Rockville. The same might be said of your marriage. Your concern for the former will doubt then be affected by the dissolution of the latter. You may question why your soon-to-be ex-spouse is able to profit off of your business when you were the one to establish it. Yet it should be remembered that per Section 8-201 of the Maryland Code detailing Property Disposition in Divorce and Annulment, a marital asset is defined as any that you acquire while married. While your business as a whole might not meet this criteria, any interest it gained while married would. 

How is that interest determined? Say you owned one location before you were married, and then expanded to five during your marriage. The court may then determine that 80 percent of your business' value is subject to property division. How much of that interest your ex-spouse will be entitled to depends largely on his or her actions related to the company's growth, such as if he or she helped finance your business' expansion, or whether he or she participated in its daily operations. 

NBA's Blake Griffin and former fiancee resolve custody dispute

Most in Rockville might assume that child custody cases are always part of larger divorce proceedings involving feuding spouses upset at each other over issues other than who gets primary custody of the kids. Yet it should be remembered that custody proceedings can also take place between unmarried couples. Some might assume that such couples bring less "baggage" into such matters, yet the fact that a couple never married does not mean that they love their kids any less than any other parent (and, by extension, will not exert the same amount of effort in fighting for what they believe to be their kids' best interests). Still, in such cases, just as it is with married parents, unwed couples are encouraged to work through custody disputes amicably. 

If reports are to be believed, then Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin and the mother of his two children have shown that this is indeed possible. Recent reports about the couple's child custody and support proceedings were met with a rebuttal issued by the pair themselves. They claim that rather than being forced to follow a set child support obligation mandated by the court, they have reached an amicable co-parenting plan on their own. The couple was engaged at one point, but never married. 

What is Maryland's standard for determining incapacitation?

Bringing up the issue of adult guardianship is never easy, yet there may reach a point where circumstances dictate that your loved one have someone who is specifically assigned to see to his or her well-being. He or she might not necessarily agree with your assessment, but that is understandable given the hesitancy that anyone would experience at the thought of surrendering important personal powers and authorities to someone else. If, however, he or she continues to refuse such care, you may be forced to take matters into your own hands. 

Section 13-705 of Maryland's Estates and Trusts Code says that you (or any other interested party) may petition the court to have an ailing loved one be declared incapacitated. The state's standard for defining incapacitation is one lacking the ability to make or communicate responsible decisions regrading the provision of his or her own care due to any of the following reasons: 

  • Mental disability 
  • Disease
  • Habitual drunkeness
  • Drug addiction

What is alternative dispute resolution?

There are many different terms you may hear in the course of the divorce process in Maryland. While you probably know and understand terms such as custody, parenting plan and asset division, other terms may be unfamiliar. One example is alternative dispute resolution. Someone may suggest you use ADR in your divorce. It helps to understand the term so you know if it is something worth considering.

The U.S. Department of Labor explains that alternative dispute resolution is not just restricted to a divorce situation. It can actually be used in a variety of different legal situations. ADR is basically where a legal situation is kept out of court by using a neutral party to act as the middleman in resolving the issue at hand.

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