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Divorce and international travel with children

When parents in Maryland get a divorce and one or both of them has ties to another country, they may want to put some rules in place about traveling with the child internationally. In other circumstances, one parent may want to take the child on an overseas trip while the other parent wants to be involved in the decision-making around that.

Even if parents do not share physical custody, if they share legal custody, both parents have the right to input on the child's international travel. The best way to address this is with as much information and documentation as possible. This essentially requires a two-pronged approach. One element is making sure that parents are transparent and in agreement with each other about the trip. The other element is making sure all the required documentation is in place to travel. For the traveling parent, this could include paperwork indicating permission to travel internationally with the child.

How divorce can impact credit scores

Overlooking financial issues that could impact credit scores could have long-term consequences for anyone ending a marriage in Maryland. On a positive note, simply getting a divorce does not automatically affect somebody's credit score. Even so, it's not always easy to separate joint financial obligations post-divorce.

Creditors and debt collectors do not honor divorce decrees, even if the documents state who is responsible for what debt obligations. For example, if a settlement agreement states one ex will keep the car and be solely responsible for payments, the other spouse's credit score could still be affected if payments are missed. Also, getting divorced doesn't automatically end responsibility for joint accounts opened during the marriage. Even if the divorce decree shifts responsibility for certain accounts to one spouse, credit reports will reflect the account as being open for both former spouses.

Tips for dividing parenting time during summer vacation

It won't be long before school is out for summer. While your children enjoy this time of the year in Maryland, it's sure to bring some challenges to your life. This is particularly true if you're divorced and share parenting time with your ex-spouse.

Dividing parenting time during summer vacation can be difficult, especially since both parents want to spend as much time as possible with their children. Here are several tips that can help you avoid disagreements:

  • Plan your schedule in advance: It's not possible to plan out the entire summer, as you never know when things will change, but a basic schedule will go a long way in keeping you and your ex on the same page. For example, if you plan on taking a vacation with your children, share the details of the trip with your ex as soon as possible.
  • Talk to your children: Don't make plans without including your children, as you may schedule something that conflicts with another activity. When you include your children in all decisions, it's easier to settle on a schedule that suits everyone.
  • Discuss childcare with your ex: During the school year, you may not worry about this as much since your children are accounted for during the day. However, during the summer months, questions regarding childcare often move to the forefront. Discuss this as soon as possible, to avoid a situation in which there's no one to watch your children during summer vacation.
  • Remain flexible: Even with a schedule in place, there will be times when you have to make changes. For example, if you get called out of town for work, you may need to change the weekend that you visit with your children. If you're flexible yourself, there's a greater chance that your ex will take the same approach.

What to know about child support after divorce

When parents get a divorce in Maryland, one may have to pay child support to the other. In general, income and child-related expenses such as health care are part of the calculation for support payments. Both courts and parents may be flexible in taking various factors into account.

With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, child support is no longer a factor in taxes. However, the custodial parent can usually claim their kid as a dependent on taxes. Some parents may want to share this ability. If they only have one child, parents could take turns claiming the dependent on alternate years. Parents who have more than one child may agree to split the claimed dependencies. Divorced parents may want to work with a tax advisor on these issues.

Courts more open to joint custody than in past decades

Maryland fathers who get a divorce are more likely to get a significant amount of time with their children or even share custody than they were several decades ago. The attitude of the legal system has shifted to one where legal custody is generally presumed. Courts are also more open to shared physical custody. However, this can present challenges if parents want equal time since it can be difficult for working parents to move children back and forth during the week.

One 2014 study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that in 1980, mothers in the state were awarded sole custody 80 percent of the time. In 2008, this only happened 42 percent of the time. According to one professor who specializes in family law, there are social trends that explain some of these shifts. Attitudes toward divorce and the legal system itself began to change after a surge of early baby boomer marriages in the 1950s and 1960s were followed by divorces. The high rate of custody for women reflected the belief at the time that children should be with their mothers.

Tech changes that can accompany divorce

When people in Maryland decide to divorce, they may think first about the changes to come in their family homes or to their personal relationships. However, there are also some technical changes that people may wish to make to protect their security and privacy after the end of a marriage. One of the first things that may be important to do is to change all of a person's major passwords. People who are married often share access not only to home accounts or online banking but even to email or messenger accounts.

As the divorce moves forward, any accounts that will remain private should have changed passwords. These include anything from personal credit cards to email accounts. Even in the most amicable of breakups, it is often a good idea to practice basic tech security. In addition, it can be important to perform a factory reset on shared devices. This is not meant to prevent the other spouse from obtaining relevant information during the divorce, but to prevent private material from lingering after the split is finalized.

Be sure to clarify child tax exemptions before tax filing

As the tax filing deadline approaches, unmarried individuals with a minor child in Maryland must consider who can take the exemption for the child. The IRS has rules regarding who can claim the child, so without communication between the parents, one party risks having a return rejected.

Despite recent federal tax law changes, there is still an advantage to claiming a minor child as a dependent. The Child Tax Credit has doubled under the new laws. The Dependent Care Credit remains available for those who have daycare expenses. Finally, the difference in the standard deduction between single and head of household is $6,000 for 2018. Without a qualifying dependent, a person cannot claim head of household.

Dividing business assets in a divorce

Running a business in Maryland can be a very lucrative prospect for entrepreneurs. When an owner's marriage is headed for divorce, however, valuable business assets could be put in jeopardy. These assets, along with income derived from a business, may be considered marital property in a divorce.

It's wise for entrepreneurs to have some type of contractual agreement in place to keep business relationships and assets separate from the marriage. This is to avoid property division disputes and to ensure that each spouse receives what is legally theirs during the divorce process. A formal contract should clearly state things like percentages of investments from both spouses, roles and responsibilities in running the business. Furthermore, the parties must agree on the terms that will go into effect if the marriage is dissolved or the business relationship ends.

Tips for high-asset couples getting a divorce

One of the first steps people in Maryland who are going through a high-asset divorce may want to take is assembling a legal and financial team. They may also want to consider whether they want to pursue litigation. Litigation is not inevitable even if there is a lot of conflict, and some couples may be able to resolve discord and reach an agreement through mediation or collaborative divorce.

It is important to prioritize professional and personal ties during the divorce. This means keeping the divorce out of the workplace and working to minimize its effect on children.

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Law Office of Dawn M. Green
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Annapolis, MD 21401

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