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What happens if you do not pay child support?

Child support continues to be an issue around the country as many parents refuse to make payments. Statistics have shown that less than 50 percent of custodial parents who are owed child support regularly receive their full payment. Because the failure to pay support has become such a wide-spread problem, the government considers it to be a federal offense with substantial penalties.

When a parent fails to make child support payments, repercussions go into effect headed by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). With a goal to make sure that children are properly taken care of, the non-custodial parent who owes the child support payment can face the following consequences:

Is January the best time of the year for a divorce?

If you're struggling to keep your marriage alive, there may come a point when you decide to learn more about the divorce process. Regardless of the time of year, if divorce is on your mind, it's something to strongly consider.

However, January is historically one of the busiest times of the year for divorce filings. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • A new year leads to new beginnings. If you want to start the new year off on the right foot, you may decide that ending your marriage is critical. Many people have a New Year's resolution to either fix their marriages or file for divorce.
  • The prior financial year is in the books. Now that the prior year has come to an end, everything is already in the books regarding your finances. For example, your spouse received all their earnings for the year, including bonuses, thus making it part of the property division process.
  • A new tax year is here. Divorce impacts your tax situation in many ways, so ending your marriage in January allows you to more easily plan for the rest of the year.

What’s the best way to ask for a prenuptial agreement?

Asking for a prenuptial agreement may not be something that excites you, but it could be a conversation that you want to have before tying the knot. Once you lay out your thoughts, it's much easier to get on the same page as your partner.

Your goal is to ask your partner for a prenuptial agreement without ruffling any feathers. Since this is easier said than done, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Don't issue a demand: Telling your partner to sign the prenuptial agreement "or else" is not a good way to maintain a strong relationship. You should discuss your reasons for wanting a prenuptial agreement, as opposed to issuing a demand.
  • Keep calm: Discussing a prenuptial agreement has a way of bringing out a variety of emotions. If you become upset and angry, it could lead to more harm than good. So, keep your cool and do your best to calmly move the conversation forward.
  • Listen and ask questions: Even though you have an idea of what you want to happen, you must listen and ask questions. This ensures that you understand your partner and vice versa. An open mind can do wonders for this process.

What to do if you can’t make your child support payments

Even though you take pride in making child support payments in full and on time, you never know what could happen in the future. If you run into financial trouble, you may find it difficult to keep up with these payments.

If you're unable to make your child support payments, here are five steps to take:

  • Take action now: Any back child support that you owe must be paid in the future. This is why you should take immediate action the second you realize that you can no longer afford to make the payments.
  • Understand the law: Focus on the laws that govern how much child support you pay, as well as the protections in place for you.
  • Talk to the other parent: Let them know what you're up against, make a suggestion and see if you can work something out. They may agree to accept smaller payments until you get back on your feet.
  • Document all changes to your finances: You need to prove to the court that you can no longer make child support payments, such as by showing that you are out of work or unable to work as the result of an illness.
  • File your request quickly: File your request for a child support modification with the same court that issued the order in the first place.

Are you experiencing these signs of divorce?

Married couples go through rough spots every now and again. While some people are able to get back on track, others turn their attention to divorce.

If you begin to experience some of the common signs of divorce, it's time to examine your situation with an eye toward making the right decision at the right time. Here are five signs to watch for:

  • You are no longer happy: If you're generally unhappy in your marriage, you need to find out why. If there's no answer, divorce may be a consideration.
  • You avoid one another: You should want to spend time with your spouse. Looking for reasons to avoid them, such as staying at work late, signifies a problem.
  • You don't talk to one another: Over time, some couples grow apart to the point of not having much discussion throughout the day. An open line of communication is important to every strong marriage.
  • Everything is a fight: Even the most minor details in your life turn into an argument.
  • Your priorities are no longer the same: It's okay to have different goals, but your priorities in life should align. If they don't, it's easier for the two of you to grow apart.

Are you prepared for the emotional stages of divorce?

Once you decide to divorce, your outlook on the future may never be the same. While you're going through a rough patch, it's important to remember that you control your own destiny.

Preparing for the emotional stages of divorce will help you deal with everything that comes your way. Here are some feelings to expect:

  • Denial: This is a natural way to protect yourself; however, it's not a long-term solution. It's okay to find yourself in denial, but you also need to face reality at some point.
  • Anger: You should expect to have feelings of anger throughout the divorce process, especially if you blame the other person for your failed marriage.
  • Bargaining: This occurs when you're ready to come to terms with your divorce. It's important to be honest with yourself during this stage of the divorce process.
  • Depression: This sets in at different times for every person. Some people become depressed early in the process, while others face this once their divorce is complete and they're on their own.
  • Acceptance: Typically, the last emotional stage of divorce is when you finally realize that you can't change the past but that you have full control over your future.

How to defuse an argument with your co-parent

Even though there are ways to make the most of your co-parenting experience, there is no denying the fact that you'll face challenges. For example, arguing with your ex-spouse may become all too familiar.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to defuse an argument when co-parenting:

  • Find the right way to communicate: If face-to-face communication always results in an argument, opt for text messages or email. This is often the best way to avoid arguments altogether.
  • Look at both sides of the argument: Even if you think you're right, take the other person's feelings into consideration. This will give you a different perspective on the situation and may change your approach.
  • Don't put your kids in the middle: It often sounds like a good idea, but it hurts everyone. It's also something that could anger your ex-spouse, thus making things worse on you.
  • Learn how to cope: You're going to argue with your co-parent from time to time. You must learn how to cope with every situation that comes your way. Being able to deal with all your feelings, good and bad, will help you calm any situation.

Help your child become comfortable living in two homes

After your divorce, your child may have no choice but to become familiar with having two homes. Even though one parent will have physical custody, which determines where the child primarily lives, your child is likely to regularly visit with the non-custodial parent.

This is all new for your child, but there are steps you can take to make them comfortable from the start. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Talk to your child about the arrangement: This is one of the best ways to understand what your child is thinking and what you can do to ease the stress and tension.
  • Let your child be part of the process: For example, they may want to help decorate their new bedroom. When your child is part of the process of settling into a new home, they're more likely to enjoy it.
  • Don't compete with the other parent: Just because your child has some luxury at your ex-spouse's house doesn't mean you have to offer the same luxury at yours.
  • Open the lines of communication: Staying in touch with the other parent in regards to living arrangements is important. This can help prevent disagreements.
  • Help with the adjustment: It doesn't matter if your child is being dropped off at your house or you're leaving them behind with the other parent, do whatever you can to help with the initial adjustment period.

A divorce can change your life for the better

There is no doubt that going through the divorce process will change your life in many ways. Upfront, you may get the feeling that you made a mistake. This is common when you're bogged down by all the details and wondering what the future will bring.

However, as you push forward and close in on the end of the divorce process, you'll come to realize you're in a position to take back full control of your life.

Are you preparing for international adoption? Follow these tips

If you're interested in adopting a child, there's a good chance you'll consider your international options. While there are many reasons to proceed with an international adoption, there's a lot that goes into the process.

Before you do anything, here are several tips to keep in mind:

  • Understand the rules and regulations for each country: Every country is different in regard to its rules and regulations for adopting a child. Knowing what you're getting into makes it much easier to proceed in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Be aware of the costs: An international adoption is sure to set you back some money, so you want to become familiar with all the fees associated with the process. This is based largely on the country you adopt from. Fees can include child foster care, travel, escorting fees, legal fees and passport and Visa fees.
  • Be patient: Any adoption, international or not, will take time. With an international adoption, there's often more red tape. Remaining patient will go a long way in helping you keep your sanity during this time.
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Law Office of Dawn M. Green
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Annapolis, MD 21401

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