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Glen Burnie Family Law And Criminal Defense Blog

Setting boundaries around your personal life with your co-parent

If you and your spouse continue to have a high-conflict relationship even after you're no longer living together and after the divorce has been finalized, working together as co-parents can be challenging. However, it's essential to find a way to do that if you're sharing custody of your children.

Developing a detailed parenting plan is a good first step to minimizing conflict. If you have worked out and codified things like your parenting schedule and expectations for both of you during your time with the kids, there's less opportunity for misunderstandings and arguments.

Maryland woman who got, dismissed protective order fatally shot

A Maryland woman who police say was fatally shot by her husband had filed and then requested dismissal of a protective order against him more than a year ago. Baltimore County police officers found the 51-year-old man outside of the woman's Dundalk home on the evening of March 5 holding a revolver. After dropping the gun, he told them, "She's dead in the back room." Police found her in a bedroom, shot in the head.

In Oct. 2017, the 47-year-old woman sought and received a protective order against her husband after he reportedly got into a physical altercation with someone else in the family. She stated in the court documents she filed, "There is a shotgun in the house and [he] is unstable, verbally threatening and physically threatening," She also said that he had put spyware on her phone and installed cameras in her home that no one else could access. She said, "We are watched at all times."

How do protective orders and peace orders differ?

No one should feel unsafe because of the actions of another. If you are being abused, harassed, stalked, threatened or otherwise harmed, there are legal actions you can take to make this behavior stop. Two possible actions include filing a protective order and filing a peace order.

The two types of orders are similar to each other, so people sometimes get confused about what the difference is between them and when they should file for one over the other. However, by having a better understanding of the similarities and differences of these orders, you can better select the option that is right for your situation.

Some states may still allow tax deduction for alimony payments

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reportedly caused a flurry of activity in Maryland divorce courts and others around the county at the end of 2018. Among its many provisions, major changes were made to the way alimony was to be handled for federal income taxes beginning in 2019. Matrimonial lawyers stated that the change prompted many couples to finalize their divorces so that they would be grandfathered under the old law. While the new provision is now in place, some tax experts have suggested that individuals need to also take a look at how alimony is viewed for their state income tax purposes.

Prior to 2019, those paying alimony could deduct the payments on federal income tax returns. Those receiving it had to pay taxes on the amount received. This reversed under the new law, eliminating the deduction for payers as well as the tax burden for recipients. However, the previous provisions may still apply for some state tax returns.

Be wary of social media evidence in high asset divorce

Social media has become so entrenched in modern life that many Maryland spouses think very little about how their messages and posts might one day be used against them in a court of law. When it comes to high asset divorce, social media often plays a very large role in how the process moves forward. Being aware of the potential damage that could be done by the type of information shared online can help spouses make savvy decisions about how they use the internet and how they proceed in divorce.

To begin, it's important to understand that absolutely nothing an individual does online is ever really private. While there are many different apps and tools that promise to keep your messages and photos private, there are an equal number of tools that allow attorneys and others to access everything that has been said or done online. Thinking about how social media activities could be viewed out in the open, in the harsh light of a courtroom, could help many spouses avoid embarrassing outcomes.

What are the requirements for divorce in Maryland?

In Maryland, your marriage must meet certain requirements before you can get an absolute divorce. Although there are requirements for a limited divorce as well, only an absolute divorce will completely sever your marriage or allow you to remarry. To get an absolute divorce, your situation must include an appropriate residency, a recognized ground for divorce and the appropriate waiting period.

Amazon's Bezos and estranged wife in midst of high asset divorce

There are millions of people in Maryland and around the world who are customers of Amazon, the online retail giant. Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder of the company, has an estimated fortune of $137 billion. Unfortunately, Bezos' 25-year marriage has ended and he is in the middle of a high asset divorce, complicated further by the absence of a prenuptial agreement.

According to earlier reports, Amazon was founded during his marriage to his estranged wife, MacKenzie. He had discussed the startup company with her and consulted with her about various ideas regarding its operations. Since the company came into existence during the course of the couple's marriage, it is considered marital property and would be divided in divorce proceedings. It is, however, unclear if the couple had a postnuptial or other type of marital agreement in place. Experts have weighed in on how to avoid a similar predicament.

Prenuptial agreements becoming more popular

Statistics on marriage and divorce have changed over the past few decades for couples in Maryland and elsewhere in the country. For example, individuals are waiting longer now to get married than in the past. Also, the overall divorce rate is leveling off, while some demographic groups are even seeing a decline. These changing views on matrimony have also led to a different perspective on prenuptial agreements for many.

There have traditionally been negative connotations associated with prenups, such as the assumptions that they are unromantic and show a lack of faith that a marriage will last. They have also been viewed as being necessary for only those couples with higher incomes. However, with many people delaying first-time marriages, prenups are being viewed as an essential prerequisite before tying the knot.

Anna Faris, Chris Pratt: Praised for child custody arrangement

Celebrity couples get divorced just like any other couple in Maryland and elsewhere around the country. Every couple going through a split faces similar issues, including property division, spousal or child support, and child custody. The biggest difference is that celebrities often have every detail of their breakup documented in the media. While most news sources are quick to provide sordid accounts of the messiest marital conflicts, one recent article praised the way one famous couple has continued to co-parent, following their divorce.

Anna Faris and Chris Pratt issued a statement in Aug. 2017 that they would be separating. At the time, they said that they would continue to parent their son, Jack, together, even though they would not be a couple anymore. They wanted  him to know that he had two parents who loved him very much and that they would both be involved in his life.

High asset divorce: Don't forget to update estate plans

The topic of divorce was regularly in the year-end news for Maryland and elsewhere around the country. Many reports centered on the changes to how alimony would be treated for tax purposes, starting in 2019, and the possible surge to get divorces finalized before the end of 2018. Whether a couple's divorce is final or the proceedings are just starting, experts remind individuals of the importance of updating estate plans. This is particularly critical for a couple in the midst of a high asset divorce.

Estate plans should include details about how assets will be distributed after one's death. They also frequently establish health care directives or end-of-life decision-making capabilities should someone become incapacitated. Getting a divorce has a major impact on these decisions and plans need to be reviewed and updated accordingly.

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