Phone: 301-738-7770
Steven J. Gaba
Phone: 301-738-7770

Bethesda MD Family Law Blog

Can teens choose which parent they want to live with?

In any divorce proceeding in Rockville that involves children will automatically place the needs and interest of the kids above all else. While determining what those needs and interests may be might require that court officials speak with the children themselves, oftentimes they will be based primarily on the opinions of others. You, your ex-spouse, family counselors and other professionals may offer input, but ultimately what is in your kids' best interest is decided by the judge in your case. The reasoning behind is due to the court not wanting to ask your children to make the difficult choice of choosing you over your ex-spouse (or vice versa). 

The fact that your kids (especially young children) may be at a stage in their lives where they lack the understanding and maturity to make such a decision. Yet what happens when they do? A better question may be at what age does the state recognize a child as being ready to offer a valued opinion? 

Why is the valuation date in your divorce important?

The moment that you and your spouse choose to divorce in Rockwell, the value of your marital assets suddenly becomes very important. Your opinions with how much your assets are worth may differ from those of your soon-to-be ex-spouse, which is why the court will often rely on independent parties to perform valuations during divorce proceedings. Yet more important than who is valuing your marital assets may be when they are valued. 

Why would the valuation date have such significance? Imagine that your spouse established a business (with your assistance) during your marriage. Given your role in getting the company off the ground, you may be entitled to an ownership stake in it. Yet if tensions between you and your ex-spouse are high enough, they could reasonably attempt to sabotage or neglect their business in order to keep you from profiting from it. 

High-asset divorce during the holidays

If you are getting ready for divorce as someone with a high net worth, there may be a variety of special considerations related to your circumstances that you will want to explore. For example, you may need to pay particular attention to some of the financial aspects of the divorce process, such as the division of your assets. Not only that, but you may have to work through other hurdles, especially during the holiday season. Some people want to move forward with their divorce regardless of the time of year, which is fine. However, it is always smart to prepare.

The holiday season can create a number of challenges for those who are in the middle of a high-asset divorce. For example, if you have kids and attend a family party, you may have to explain the situation to your children and to some of your family members. People often feel stressed out during the holidays for various reasons and you may be a business owner who is especially busy over the holidays. From issues with staff members to daily chaos due to heavy traffic, this can be a very demanding time of year in certain industries.

How can I create a solid parenting plan with my ex?

Co-parenting is rarely easy for families in Maryland once a divorce has taken place. However, creating a solid co-parenting plan is a step in the right direction, as it will provide a sound framework should you run into any disagreements. To ensure your parenting plan is a success, Very Well Family offers the following tips.

Have the right mindset

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 
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