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Divorce Lawyers

Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law

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Maryland Divorce Legal Crier

News and comments about divorce, child support, child custody, alimony, equitable property distribution, father’s rights, mother’s rights, family law, laws on divorce and other legal information in Maryland.

Posts Tagged ‘Children’

Getting a Divorce or Pretending That Everything Is All Right?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Guest post by Corina David

Divorce is a traumatic experience, no matter if this happens after 6 or 16 years of marriage. But despite the bitter taste, it might be the only remedy possible to a relation that is anyway doomed to failure.

When children are involved, the situation becomes even more complicated, as many decide to tolerate each other for a few more years until the children are old enough either to understand or leave home and have their own lives. A relationship like this is like a pair of socks that needs constant mending. And the truth is that despite the laudable intention of being economical, you’ll still have to buy a new pair of socks – better quality maybe. This is pretty much the same with a relation – if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work; get used to the idea, do something and don’t use the children as an excuse.

Priority or not?

Children shouldn’t be an excuse, indeed, but should be a priority. Growing up in a medium where tension can be felt might harm them more in the long term than if you were to cut the bad from its roots.

There are many family law professionals who can provide special counselling sessions to couples who want to divorce. The golden rule is to never speak badly of your partner in front of your children. After all, he’s their father, or she’s their mother.

While traumatic at first, children will eventually get used to the idea. Also, when there is more than one child involved, they should not be “divided” between the parents, even if one of the children may be the father’s or mother’s favourite.

Should the in-laws receive counselling?

Divorce affects not only the children, but the grandparents as well. Sometimes, special counselling sessions for the grandparents may be a good idea, as they might be inclined to partner with their own grown-up children and see the former husband or wife as the “enemy”.  Obviously, this will affect the little ones. Grandparents need to understand that while their grown-up children may have had problems, that was just between them and should not let this affect their relation. Family law firms offer advice that can be really helpful. There are also special counsellors that do this.

Remember that words have the power to destroy and to connect, therefore words should only be uttered after they have been wisely thought. And no matter how well you might think you handle the situation, there’s always a case, or someone else’s experience, or words of wisdom that can make a huge difference.

So don’t hide in the closet! Seek advice and talk to people. Divorce happens, the same way life happens, the same way marriage happens. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Tax Planning for Divorce (Part 2-Exemptions for Dependents)

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Guest Post By John Ellsworth, Esq

You can continue to claim your child as a dependent on your tax return if the divorce decree names you as the custodial parent. This is a very important rule for you to memorize.

If the decree is silent on that point, you would still be considered the custodial parent — and thus eligible for the exemption — if your child lived with you for a longer period of time during the year than with your ex. So if the child lives more than half the year with you, and your decree doesn’t mention who gets the exemption, then you get it.

Please keep in mind that it’s possible for the noncustodial parent to claim the exemption if the custodial parent signs a waiver pledging that he or she won’t claim it.

Children and Divorce (Part 3 – Older Children)

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Guest Post by David Williamson, content writer at Coles Solicitors who writes on different law and legal topics. He is expert in writing about personal injury law, family law, divorce law, employment law and many other legal topics.

The effects divorce can have on older children, especially teenagers, can more often than not be more severe than on the very young. These children, when around the ages of 12 to 16, actively understand what is happening. They can often witness their parent’s distress, can see the disruption in the family unit and ultimately respect the process. This can lead to a fear of commitment and hesitancy when it comes to intimacy. This age range is also more likely to engage in sexual activity at an early age and frequent reports of depression are known to be an outcome. The result of this commonly swings two ways: Either the child matures extremely quickly, becoming a career of sorts for the jilted parent (if there is one), gaining an increased appreciation of money and gaining responsibilities ahead of their years. On the other hand, they can often project their parent’s misfortune on their own future and assume that they will achieve the same, unhappy fate.

When a child grows past these years, to around 16 or above, the effects are often minor. Of course, the child feels jilted and abandoned in some cases and confused as to the causal elements. However, they are mature enough to understand the situation and remove their personal feelings from the equation. Any deep or confusing emotional conflicts will ostensibly only last temporarily, and they will often support the family the best they can to ensure an appropriate outcome.

The single biggest factor, applicable to all age groups, is that of the level of aggression a child may witness between their parents. If there are common verbal fights, or even in severe cases physical outbursts, this will have major effects on all children, often causing permanent damage. If fighting is unavoidable then this should be conducted away from the children as, at the very least, the illusion of a ‘normal’ family unit needs to be partially maintained for the child to appreciate and respect normal human relationships.

Understanding these outcomes and ensuring appropriate steps to prevent them will help children adjust to the drastic changes imposed on them by divorce and help prevent any permanent damage.

Divorce and Children (Part 2-Young Children)

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Guest Post by David Williamson, content writer at Coles Solicitors who writes on different law and legal topics. He is expert in writing about personal injury law, family law, divorce law, employment law and many other legal topics.

The effects of divorce on the very young are still somewhat a mystery. Up until around the ages of 2 or 3, children are not going to remember the separation and show few signs of understanding the process. Therefore, the long term effects are, fundamentally, only conjecture.

Once they begin to age, however, up until around 8 or 9 years old, children will often demonstrate rudimentary and measurable signs of understanding the situation. They often take on board some feelings of responsibility and assume that the reason one of their parents has left falls to them. The consequences of this are a yearning for attention, often combined with a fear that the remaining parent will also ‘abandon’ them. This can result in lowered self-esteem and often cause a problematic sleeping pattern.

Mature children, around the ages of 9 to 12, often shoulder the responsibility of the situation more so than their younger counterparts. A common consequence during these ages is that of an increased imagination. Commonly, the child may imagine their parents are still together and take part in games or act out scenes of denial and a refusal to believe the situation that is unfolding before them; outside of their control. Anger may increase during this age range, whereas younger children may introvert, quietly sob and allow the feeling of abandon to push them into the fringes of their comfort zone, these more mature children will probably become more obvious with their feelings of anger and resentment.

Divorce and Children (Part 1)

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Guest Post by David Williamson, content writer at Coles Solicitors who writes on different law and legal topics. He is expert in writing about personal injury law, family law, divorce law, employment law and many other legal topics.

Divorce affects everyone differently. The two main parties, the husband and wife, are of course usually the ones most notably affected. Commonly though, friends, relatives and even neighbors can be drawn into the fray in the face of the developing animosity. However, whereas adults will, more often than not eventually move on and lead normal happy lives again, perhaps with a new partner, children often experience different outcomes.

Divorce and its consequences can leave permanent scars on the psyche of children. The way a divorce is conducted and understanding the short and long-term effects it could have on children is important to ensuring they don’t suffer because of their parent’s personal turmoil.

These effects can vary drastically. However, there are some very important outcomes relative to all age groups that are wholly worth maintaining, especially if you have children and are seeking divorce. The main element to remember when considering how a child may react to divorce, (regardless of age) is always thus:

‘Removing a parent from the equation kills the illusion of the solid family unit the child has been brought up to respect.’

The results of this can manifest in a variety of ways. The most common of these by far, though, is a striking drop in productivity. Children who are raised in divorced families statistically demonstrate a lack in productivity in both school and the home. However,  that’s not to say that all children experiencing divorce will behave in this way but statistically children are more prone to acting out when involved in divorce than those raised in a family where the parents remain married.

Two Happy Homes

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

I love finding free and useful tools on the Internet for my clients and readers.  Here’s a new one with the uplifting name of TwoHappyHomes.Com for divorced and separated parents.  It is free to use but you can buy a premium version to remove advertising for $1.00 a month.

Parents can use the site for planning, organizing and communicating.  There is a place to save contacts and medical information, keep a common calendar of events and schedules, track finances and expenses, store essential documents, and send notes to each other via messaging.

Founder, Traci Whitney, mother of three, said after divorce, “I really thought there would be a good solution available to help us. There wasn’t, and I knew it was something that I could create, and help other people like me.”

Children and Marital Happiness

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

A study by Benin and Robinson shows:

1.   A high marital satisfaction level for spouses before they have any children.

2.  The first years with children show a peak of satisfaction.

3.  Over time, satisfaction levels fall significantly. The all-time low is achieved during the children’s adolescent years.

4.  The good news:  After the children are launched, marital satisfaction spikes to an all-time high for husbands and wives.

The Civilised Divorce

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Helen Kirwan-Taylor, writing for the Wall Street Journal Europe today, describes a new trend in divorces:  The civilised divorce.

She says she first noticed the trend when a friend showed her a professionally taken black and white Christmas card of a recently divorced couple from Stockholm. “There they were smiling away on the card with their immaculately dressed children, even though inside they posted separate addresses below their names.”

This couple, writes Kirwan-Taylor, have a personal Civilised Separation Agreement in which they agreed to protect the children, respect one another, split everything down the middle fairly and never quarrel openly.

Think this will catch on in America?

Adultery No Bar to Custody

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Mary Louise Davis married John Franklin Davis, Jr. in 1958.  Sixteen years and three children later, Mrs. Davis, together with her six-year-old daughter Leigh, left the marital home and moved into an apartment.  Mr. Davis filed for divorce in Maryland on the ground of his wife’s adultery, and asked for custody of the children.

Judge Latham, after a custody investigation and a hearing, awarded custody of Leigh to the mother.  The father appealed to the Court of Special Appeals, which reversed the judge.  The Court said the father should have custody of Leigh because the mother had failed to show repentance for her adultery.

The mother appealed to the Court of Appeals.  The Court of Appeals held:

“Whereas the fact of adultery may be a relevant consideration in child custody awards, no presumption of unfitness on the part of the adulterous parent arises from it; rather it should be weighed, along with all other pertinent factors, only insofar as it affects the child’s welfare.”

The Court said the primary determination was the best interest of the child.  In determining this, Judge Latham had taken into account that Leigh had been living with her mother alone for the past two years and was adjusted to this arrangement; that she was doing well in school and was adequately provided for at home; that even though Mrs. Davis had engaged in adulterous conduct in the past, there was no  showing that it had ever deleteriously affected Leigh; and that Mrs. Davis had engaged in no sexual misconduct since February 1975.

So Leigh got to stay with her mother.

Davis v. Davis, 280 Md. 119; 372 A.2d 231 (1977)

Notice of Intent to Relocate with Children

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Section 9-106 of the Family Law Article of the Maryland Code provides that the Court may, in any custody or visitation proceeding, include a notice provision for intent to relocate in its order.  It is not automatic.  You have to ask for it.

The provision is so that the non-custodial parent has a chance to go to court and seek a change in custody or visitation.

The problem up to now has been that the notice period is 45 days and that has not been enough time to obtain a hearing date.  So the move usually has already happened by the time you get in front of a judge.  The home has been sold.  The kids have been enrolled in a new school.

So Section 9-106 has been revised, effective October 1 of this year, to provide for a 90 day notice period.  And if you file a petition within 20 days of receiving notice, the court will give you an expedited hearing.

 
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