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Glen Burnie Family Law Blog

Which expenses can child support payments cover?

Most divorced parents in Maryland wants what is best for their children. It is therefore only natural for a noncustodial parent to be concerned about how the child support he or she pays every month is spent. Is it used as intended to support the various aspects of the child's life, or does the custodial parent spend it on him or herself? Although there is no law to dictate precisely how child support money should be spent, there are basic guidelines to ensure it is used in the best interest of the child.

Depending on the age of the child and the custodial parent's circumstances, child care fees such as day care, after-school care and babysitting might require a significant percentage of the monthly check. Next on the list of priorities are the child's daily needs, including food, shelter and clothing. Medical expenses will depend on which parent carries health insurance, but child support money might have to cover prescription costs, medical co-pays and health insurance deductibles.

More Maryland millennials signing prenuptial agreements

In the 21st century not all things last forever and that can include marriage. Gone are the days when couples stay together no matter what. Younger Maryland couples -- or millennials -- realize this and are waiting longer to get married. They're also marrying smarter, and that includes marrying with prenuptial agreements in place. 

As millennials are embracing both pre and postnuptial agreements, so too are many more couples, especially those who marry more than once and who find themselves in blended families. Many millennials' parents have divorced and so they might know firsthand what the divorce process entails and may want to safeguard themselves financially. When prenups first surfaced some years ago, they were looked upon as being killers of romance --not so much anymore.

Prenuptial agreements are on the rise

When a Maryland couple decides to get a divorce, they may assume that there will be some heated or contentious discussions in their future. Although the couple may agree that it is time to move on, they are not looking forward to some potential arguments over how their property will be divided or how custody for the children may be handled. However, for those couples with prenuptial agreements, the potential for these heated conversations is mostly out of the picture.

Prenuptial agreements, or prenups, are documents couples sign before tying the knot. The agreements address a variety of issues about how things will be handled should the couple split. Just a few years ago, prenups were mainly reserved for wealthy or celebrity couples. However, in the last five years, over 60 percent of matrimonial lawyers report that they have witnessed a rise in the requests for prenups, particularly among the millennial generation.

Pitt/Jolie still grappling with child custody issue after 2 years

The divorce process for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt started two years ago. Most couples in Maryland or elsewhere around the country would not anticipate that the process would take that long for them. Likely, Jolie and Pitt did not suspect that either; early responses from them indicated that they were anxious to settle their differences and move on. Needless to say, that resolution has not yet occurred. One of the major issues that is still being hotly disputed is that of child custody and how their children should be raised.

The bone of contention between the two celebrities is that they each want to have more time with their children, ranging in ages from 10 to 17. Jolie believes that it is best for her to maintain sole custody of them. However, Pitt seeks to have meaningful time with the children, not only short time periods together awarded by a judge. It has become nearly impossible to reach a custody agreement that will satisfy both parties.

Judge set to make decision in couple's high asset divorce

When a Maryland couple decides to end a marriage, there are many discussions about how assets will be divided between them. Accusations of lying or unfaithfulness may come into play while deliberations occur. However, most couples in the state or elsewhere around the country are not determining how hundreds of millions of dollars will be split. A couple in the midst of a high asset divorce in another state is awaiting a judge's decision about their case.

The couple has assets of $550 million, predominantly in real estate. They own restaurants, bars, office buildings, shop centers and a golf course. The parties have presented their claims to a circuit judge in their area. According to reports, personal feelings about each other have been made known to the court.

Changes coming next year in how alimony will be taxed

Going through a divorce can often be a lengthy process for couples in Maryland and others around the country. They must address a multitude of issues as they work toward separating the various aspects of their lives. Though a divorce is not something that should be rushed, many experts have suggested that those contemplating a divorce should consider finalizing it in 2018. The impetus behind this suggestion concerns the new way alimony will be treated for tax purposes, beginning next year.

For decades, the person who paid alimony was able to deduct the amount from federal income taxes. The recipient was required to pay taxes on the amount. However, for those divorces finalized in 2019, the situation will be changed. The payer can't deduct the alimony, nor will taxes have to be paid by the person receiving it.

Issue of child support in Pitt/Jolie divorce

When couples in Maryland or others around the country go through the divorce process, tensions may often run high. When the couples have children, discussions around custody or child support can become rather contentious. However, for most couples, every statement or decision they make in a divorce is not plastered all over the tabloids. Unfortunately, this is the situation for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as they continue to navigate through a messy split.

In this particular dispute, there is a question regarding a loan Pitt made to Jolie. Namely, should the loan be counted as child support? Pitt believes that it should be, since the loan was apparently used for housing for his children.

Validity of prenuptial agreements and other marital contracts

When Maryland couples or others around the country get divorced, emotions can often run high. Issues such as child custody or division of property can become contentious. In many situations, having prenuptial agreements or similar agreements in place can greatly reduce the amount of tension between the parting spouses. However, if one party questions the validity of a marital agreement during the divorce proceedings, the tension is likely to flare again.

Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, is in the midst of seeking a divorce from her husband, Michael Lockwood. She filed for the divorce in another state in June 2016. Lockwood is claiming that he did not realize he had forfeited the opportunity to receive spousal support when he signed two postnuptial agreements.

Amnesty for those who owe back child support

Those who have outstanding warrants and have had their driver's licenses suspended may be offered amnesty soon. Residents of Maryland and other states have been offered similar programs for those who owe back child support. By working together with the Office of Child Support Enforcement, parents who agree to terms and resume payments can have holds on their license released.

Studies show that parents without a driver's license have issues pursuing or maintaining employment. They are also limited to the amount of time with their children because of the lack of transportation. The program, referred to as the "Back in the Driver's Seat" event, is held several times a month and benefits both children and parents by allowing them to get back on track with payments.

Prenuptial agreements may be the new normal

The notion of staying married forever and sharing everything until death should be the focus when marrying, but it is not always the outcome for some. While many enter marriages with forever in mind, statistics show that almost half of the marriages will end in divorce in the United States. For many young couples in Maryland and other states, prenuptial agreements  may be the first legal document they sign before entertaining the idea of holy matrimony.

A prenup agreement creates a legally binding agreement between spouses. It protects them financially and designates current and future assets as their own in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements may not be simple or romantic, but they do create a clear and concise contract that can be necessary in cases of personal or family wealth and children from previous marriages.

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