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Glen Burnie Family Law Blog

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.

Britney Spears signs new deal and ex asks for more child support

One celebrity family feud seems to go on forever over the financial support of their two children. Pop star Britney Spears has made a multi-million-dollar comeback, and her ex-husband feels he is entitled to a piece of the pie. In Maryland and other states, negotiations for more child support become intense between celebrities when one ex signs a new deal for big money.

Britney Spears' ex-husband, Kevin Federline, is asking for more money, claiming it is impossible for him to find work to support his family. He is now re-married with two additional children. The pop star has recently made an astounding comeback in Las Vegas and is currently touring nationally, all of which will enable her to rake in millions.

Grandparents with child custody seek resource relief

Grandparents have stepped up and welcomed grandkids into their homes, giving them hope for the future and replacing traumatic pasts with love. Grandparents are petitioning the courts for child custody because many parents struggle with drug addiction and are unable to care for their children. In Maryland and other states, grandparents are forgoing retirement plans and working through the legal system to secure custody.

The Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act was recently signed into law by the president. The goal is to create a one-stop-shop of available support resources for grandparents raising grandchildren. About 2.6 million children in America are raised by grandparents, and the numbers are expected to increase because of the ongoing opioid crisis. The new law is adamant about helping children maintain a connection with family through kinship caregivers.

Alimony payers lose tax deduction in 2019

New changes to tax deductions with the Tax Cuts and Job Act are set to begin on Jan. 1, 2019. All divorce agreements executed by Dec. 31, 2018 will reap the benefits of tax deductions on alimony, but those agreements settled after Jan. 1, 2019 will lose out. Recipients of alimony in Maryland and other states will begin to receive payments tax-free.

Under the new law, tax deductions for alimony or maintenance paid by the higher-earning spouse will be eliminated. For some, that can mean 15-20 years of financial support without any tax relief. Many states have set limits on the time alimony is paid, and lifetime payments may be a thing of the past, even for those who never remarry. In some states, permanent alimony can end when the payer reaches the federal retirement age of 67.

Financial considerations to make before high asset divorce

It is hard to be proactive about finances when the emotions surrounding divorce are still fresh. Individuals in Maryland who are in the process of a high asset divorce can be pursued by creditors for joint accounts incurred during the marriage even if is not their debt. Experts recommend obtaining three credit reports early to uncover any unknown liabilities that may surface.

During a time when emotions and conflict go together, one can expect income and expenses to change drastically. Some may benefit from creating a budget that outlines monthly costs such as housing, transportation and utilities. Now maybe the time to take a hard look at current financial situations and re-evaluate cash flow, insurance needs, retirement and investment portfolios.

Moms try to regain child custody after treatment

For most women, becoming a mother is the greatest pleasure in life. For some, drug abuse takes precedence over motherhood, and reports show that in 2016, about 92,000 children were taken into child custody because of parental drug abuse. In Maryland and elsewhere, experts say removing a child from its parents can cause trauma even for those very young.

Many mothers who abuse drugs or are in a methadone treatment program often have babies born addicted and suffering from opioid withdrawal. In these cases, children are taken to a foster care program, some directly from the hospital. The results of this were devastating to mothers, and most relapsed, further reducing the chance of reuniting with their child.

IRA accounts can be used to negotiate alimony

On December 31, 2018, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act goes into effect, eliminating the coveted tax deduction for alimony. Divorces completed before the end of the year will be grandfathered into the old law, where the payer will receive the tax deduction and the payee will be taxed. Residents of Maryland and other states could use Individual Retirement Accounts as bargaining chips in lieu of alimony payments.

Tax experts predict IRA accounts will soon play a major role in divorce discussions as tax deductions for alimony payers disappear in 2019. For ex-spouses to receive tax deductions under the old law, payments had to be made in cash. A new alimony planning opportunity is available to divorcing couples using IRAs, and the account can be transferred tax-free from one spouse to the other.

Prenuptial agreements are becoming the new normal

For those who are planning to marry, an important aspect to consider before the upcoming nuptials is to have an open and honest conversation about money. While not as glamorous as planning a honeymoon retreat, it is imperative to discuss finances, existing debt and the prospect of a prenuptial agreement. More couples in Maryland and other states are entering into prenuptial agreements while planning for their future together.

Couples should have a casual conversation about financial history and what assets and debt each person will bring to the marriage. These talks can determine if couples will pool finances or keep things separate. Some choose to keep separate accounts and share expenses such as household bills like rent and utilities. Knowing up front how the other handles money opens the lines of communication and can bring couples closer together.

Maryland child custody rulings can be modified

If two Maryland parents battle it out in court over who should have full custody of their children, the court will hand down an ultimate ruling at some point. When this happens, both parents are bound to adhere to the terms of the ruling, although in some situations one or the other may decide to appeal. There are also situations where a parent may lose child custody, then file a new petition down the line to try to regain it.  

That's what Southern Charm reality TV star Kathryn Dennis is doing. The mother of two children reportedly failed a drug test in 2016. This prompted the court to remove her children from her custody.  

Child support in Maryland: Think far, far ahead

When cradling your newborn, you and your spouse are not likely to think about whether the baby will need braces or eyeglasses further along. Admittedly, dreaming about having children doesn't often focus on the costs of raising them well into adulthood. When divorce intervenes, a Maryland couple may find that child support and all its associated expenses will leap to the forefront and stay there.

The particular circumstances of each divorcing couple will present a wide range of scenarios, depending on the age and needs of the child at the time of divorce. Since children have that uncanny gift of growing like weeds, their needs will evolve and the related expenses will increase accordingly. Moreover, changes in parental lifestyles, incomes, as well as relocation, remarriage or unexpected health issues, will all affect both the payor and recipient of child support payments.

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