Divorce can be one of the biggest, most challenging decisions you will ever make, and you don’t need to make it alone. Did you know there is a program designed to help women learn the essential financial, legal, and emotional aspects of the divorce process? The program is called Second Saturday divorce workshop and was designed to help people take the next step,regardless of where they are in the process of untying the knot.
Last Month I had the privilege of being a guest on Brian Kuhn’s show Your Future Your Finances on MMCTV in Montgomery County. Your Future Your Finances is a show that focuses on personal finance, personal development, and current issues facing the residents of Montgomery County and the greater MD/DC area. I enjoyed the opportunity to talk about family law in Maryland, why mediation is a good alternative in divorce cases, and the explain what value I bring to a consultation. Brian has interviewed a lot of great people, the interviews are each less than 10 minutes, so I encourage you to watch.
I have a frame in my office that reads: “Your job is not to judge. Your job is to lift the fallen, to restore the broken, and to heal the hurting.” This is my guiding philosophy.
My goal is to use this blog to share brief overviews about the many aspects of family law in Maryland.
Before we go any further, please note that the information provided in this blog, on my website, and on social media outlet, are not meant to provide you with legal advice, nor does it mean that an attorney-client relationship has been created. These blog posts do not replace the necessity for meeting with an attorney. I hope to give you a foundation for your legal journey so that when you meet with an attorney, or if you are considering alternatives to litigation such as mediation, you will hopefully have a broader understanding of the legal process.
Expect to read blog posts about the following family law topics:
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Same Sex family law issues
- Military family law
- Grandparents’ rights and third party rights
I have a plaque in my office with this quote:
“Your job is not to judge. Your job is to lift the fallen, to restore the broken, and to heal the hurting.”
2015 marks a decade of learning about and working in family law. Above all, I’ve learned that every client has a unique family situation.
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned after a decade of working in family law:
- Judge’s decisions are unpredictable. Even if you have the toughest, most complicated case and you think you are going to lose, there is no way to know what the Judge will decide. That is why it is best for both parties to go through mediation and settle cases outside of court.
- Cheating happens because one person is miserable. Typically, it is not because they were looking for someone else, it’s because they were so miserable that they just found someone else.
- In the past, you needed to prove a reason for getting a divorce. Just because you are unhappy didn’t mean you could file for divorce. Now, anyone can get divorced if they are unhappy.
- People often say things that they don’t mean. During a separation or divorce, arguments can get heated and emotional. Cursing, threatening, and then a parent is accused of domestic violence or met with a restraining order.
- Family law cases become the stereotypical nightmarish family law case you see on TV when one party takes on the role of an uncooperative spouse. There is no negotiating with crazy.
Lastly, although difficult, being a family law attorney is extremely rewarding. I am able to help people through the toughest time in their life, and see them grow and start a new and better chapter in their life. How many people can say that they are able to that in their line of work?
If you are currently going through a divorce or a custody battle, have you thought about what YOUR best case scenerio would be? How about your worst case scenerio?
Generally, attorneys cannot promise or guarantee an outcome, but they can provide you with insight regarding the most likely best case and worst case scenarios. In addition, attorneys can tell you what the court can and cannot do.
In my opinion, every attorney should advise their clients to understand their own best case and worst case scenario, as well as, what the court can and cannot do. These situations can change throughout the separation process due to new facts that may not have been divulged previously. As such, whenever new information becomes known to you, you should have a conversation with your attorney to determine whether these new facts change your best case or worst case scenarios.
In my experience the clients who visualize the worst case scenario make their current situation easier and also allows them to make more rational decisions, in turn, creating a greater likelihood for settlement to happen.
Alimony is the periodic payment for support and maintenance of a spouse and may be awarded after a limited or absolute divorce. Alimony may be awarded to either party and can be awarded for a definite or indefinite period of time. Alimony for a definite period is commonly known as “rehabilitative alimony” while alimony for an indefinite period is known as “permanent alimony.” An award of alimony is not an automatic entitlement. Alimony is similar to an annuity or pension which enables a spouse to maintain an accustomed standard of living. However, there is an expectation that a spouse should be required, through rehabilitation, to become self-supporting, even if the result is a reduced standard of living.
How does the court determine whether to award Alimony to a spouse?
The court considers many factors when determining whether to award alimony and, if awarded, the amount and duration of the award. Some of these factors include: