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Annapolis Family Law Blog

Actress's divorce settlement will go to charity

Actress Amber Heard, who recently divorced Johnny Depp, has reportedly donated her divorce settlement to charity. The couple reached their agreement on Tuesday, Aug. 16, a day ahead of their scheduled court appearance. Heard's final settlement totaled seven million dollars. These funds will be split between the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, and the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.

Reportedly, the ACLU is to use its portion of Heard's donation specifically for its efforts in stopping violence against women. The actress accused Depp of domestic violence during their relationship and filed for a restraining order against Depp in May of this year. Heard said she has volunteered for the children's hospital for more than ten years and understands how her donation can make all "the difference between life and death for a child."

When your co-parent does not make child support payments

Not receiving the child support payments you are due can lead to severe financial challenges. In turn, this can have a negative impact on your ability to care for your children. Even one missed payment can make all the difference in the quality of life your kids enjoy, and numerous missed payments can be disastrous. Most parents in Maryland already know the effect of missed child support payments. What they often do not know is what can be done to remedy the situation.

Fortunately, the state of Maryland does offer several enforcement options for the custodial parent, each one developed to encourage the non-custodial parent to make good on his or her support responsibility. Under federal and state law, the Child Support Enforcement Administration, or CSEA, has the necessary authorization to implement a number of actions to ensure child support obligations are met. These include wage garnishments, interception of tax refunds, asset garnishments, credit bureau reporting and a great many others.

Helping you avoid mistakes that may hurt your child custody case

If you are divorcing with children, you already understand the heavy toll it can take on your family. It is often a time of utter chaos in which you exist under a microscope. Everything you say and do could be subject to intense scrutiny. Making mistakes can cost you heavily, but it can cost your children even more: a stable environment, interacting with both parents, emotional security and more.

As family law attorneys, we see parents make a lot of mistakes that can affect their child custody proceedings. Losing the custody agreement you want is one thing, but putting your children in a compromising position is another thing altogether. We know this is an outcome you do not want and your co-parent probably does not as well.

Maryland's options for those seeking a legal separation

Many couples arrive at our office seeking a non-divorce solution to their marital issues. Often, they are looking to initiate a legal separation but there is a problem with this request—legal separations as most people understand them do not exist in Maryland. It can take the wind right out of a couple's sails when they find out that the solution they thought was right for them is not an option. We hope this post will clear up the confusion about legal separation in Maryland because we believe that an informed client makes better decisions.

Even though legal separation is not an option, couples can have their needs met without going all the way through with a divorce. Often, a limited divorce is an effective alternative to a separation. We have talked about limited divorce in our blog before and will avoid getting too detailed about the process now. Instead, we refer you to this post if you need more detailed information.

Can a family law attorney help protect me from domestic violence?

The short answer to your question is absolutely, a family law attorney can help you with domestic violence. After a short discussion about the domestic violence-related laws in Maryland, you will find out how a lawyer can help.

Maryland law does not specifically address domestic violence in its legislature. However, the state does give attention to the issue in its family law code. Additionally, the state offers the victims of domestic violence several effective ways to seek protection. In the eyes of many, domestic violence is shrouded in mystery. Victims often do not understand what behaviors may constitute domestic violence. Below is a very brief breakdown of domestic violence crimes.

Learn about Maryland's limited divorce option

The term "limited divorce" sounds intriguing when couples are thinking about ending their marriage. It sounds like a half-measure or perhaps even a way to ease into divorce. It can be both of those things, but couples must meet certain requirements to seek a limited divorce in Maryland.

What is limited divorce?

When paying child support is difficult, seek professional advice

Taking care of children can be challenging in any situation, but after a divorce, it is even more so. Establishing child support mandates is the government's solution to making sure both parents contribute to the care of their children. However, in an ever-evolving economy, financial hardships can make it difficult for the non-custodial parent to keep up with the payments.

Most divorced parents in Maryland want to contribute to their child's upbringing, but even one missed payment can make a substantial impact on both parent's ability to care for the child. Further, missing payments is detrimental to the paying parent as well. Each state deals with child support issues in its individual own way. In Maryland, there are several different enforcement options the state can use to collect delinquent payments. Some of these options include:

How to protect business interests during a divorce

When one party enters a marriage having already built a successful business, it is important to take steps to protect those assets from loss. Should the marriage end in divorce, a spouse who had no part in creating the business could end up with a significant share of business assets, which can lead to financial turmoil for the business owner and even a risk of having to close the doors permanently. Preventing that outcome should be a top priority for Maryland business owners who are preparing to wed.

Of course, the most powerful means of shielding business assets from loss is to create a prenuptial agreement that specifically addresses the issue. A solid prenup can work wonders in protecting one's interests, especially in cases where the business was already up and running prior to the marriage, and where the other spouse does not play a role in running or enhancing the business. If a prenup is not possible, then the next best course of action is to meet with a divorce attorney to make a plan. In some cases, it is possible to create a legal argument that shows that the business has always been the sole responsibility of the owner, and that the other spouse was not active in furthering the company. That can help limit the share of assets that the spouse can attain if the matter goes to court.

Employees should not be fired because of divorce, court says

Going through the end of a marriage will require some financial adjustments for most Maryland spouses. Even so, few worry that their job security will suffer as a result of their changed marital status. In one state, that is exactly what happened when a worker went through a divorce, lost his job and had to fight through the courts to find a just resolution.

The man and his wife were both employed by a county Rescue Squad. The man had an affair with a woman who volunteered at the facility, and when his wife found out an out the relationship, their already strained marriage began to crumble even further. Both husband and wife approached management on separate occasions to discuss the matter. At that time, the man was told that there was no guarantee that his position would be secure.

Taking full advantage of a divorce attorney

When seeking to end a marriage, most Maryland spouses will secure the services of a trained family law attorney. Because most people are unfamiliar with the divorce process and are not sure what to expect, it is easy to take a backseat to the process and allow the attorney to guide the ship, so to speak. A better approach, however, is to take full advantage of the skills and experience of one's divorce attorney to reach the best possible settlement.

One way to maximize the power of a good attorney is to provide he or she with all of the information needed to reach a positive outcome. This includes providing a written overview of the personality traits of the other spouse. This can give an attorney valuable information needed to guide the course of negotiations. For example, a wife who insists on getting the best possible deal no matter the circumstances will be amenable to a negotiation strategy that emphasizes the cost savings of various property division strategies. A husband who is very controlling and dominant will respond better to a strategy that allows him to feel as though he is in control of the divorce process and does not seek to strip him of his perceived position of dominance.

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