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Minimize divorce fees by providing full financial disclosure

You deserve a divorce that's not going to degenerate into a virtual crap shoot. In Maryland and elsewhere, the first thing to do after making a decision to go forward with a divorce is to go out and retain legal counsel. Many attorneys don't charge for an initial consultation, so that you can obtain considerable up-front information without obligation. For starters, there's nothing more important or self-assuring than starting out with a full arsenal of knowledge about what lies ahead. Legal fees in a divorce usually are on an hourly rate. It's common to see an initial retainer that the lawyer bills against, and when that's depleted you'll replenish it. In either event, you'll be given a written agreement setting forth a fee schedule that you must sign and approve. Remember that you can save money on legal fees and have a more cost-effective divorce by providing counsel early on…

Reality TV star’s 72-day marriage appears to be over

Maryland residents have likely followed along as reality TV star Kim Kardashian pursued a divorce from her estranged husband Kris Humphries. The pair was only married for 72 days. However, their divorce saga has gone since October 2011. Today, a judge approved a divorce settlement. The couple will officially part ways once they have signed the proper documents. The marriage between Kardashian and Humphries was quite short. Some couples decide to divorce after decades of marriage. In any case, people may find that continuing on with the marriage is not an option. As this recent case showed, divorce is rarely a simple process. There are many different issues that must be settled before a couple can officially go their separate ways. The division of marital property, child custody disputes and child support issues can be complicated matters to resolve. In addition to working through legal issues, people in Maryland and…

Heavy drinking could lead to breakdown in marriage

Many people in Maryland and beyond enjoy having a glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage with their spouse after a long day at work. However, one spouse's reliance on alcohol may cause problems in the marriage. Earlier this year, research from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health showed that divorce is more common among couples in which one spouse drinks significantly more. This appears to be particularly true when the wife drinks too much. This is a trend that seems to be occurring in other parts of the world beyond the United States. A British family law attorney says that she handles many cases every year in which drinking was the main cause of the divorce. The attorney says that many times it is the women who have the problem. The breakdown of a marriage can be caused by a number of factors. Unfortunately, there is not a secret…

Breaking off the engagement? Who keeps the ring?

Residents in Maryland may not have ever pondered this question before, but with many break-ups following the displayed passion of Valentine's Day, some must ask, who gets the engagement ring when things don't work out? Dividing property, especially prior to marriage seems odd, but it can often lead to conflicts among couples who can't keep it together. Couples who decide to separate prior to ever having walked down the aisle must take into account many of the same factors that divorcing couples do. Many states have differing laws on what to do with the engagement ring upon a break-up. Some consider the ring an outright gift, especially if given on a holiday, while others view it as a condition gift to be given back once the wedding is called off. In Maryland, as a general rule, the ring is considered to be a conditional gift that is to be returned…

Taking your time with the divorce now may save you later

Many Maryland couples who are experiencing the hurt and discord associated with divorce proceedings often just want the whole thing completed as quickly as possible. Some experts are cautioning against that impulse though in order to save you money and further heartache down the road. Of the divorce lawyers who were interviewed, the consensus seems to be that when going through the difficult divorce proceedings, it is best to (1) be truthful, (2) know your assets, and (3) choose your timing carefully. These three pieces of advice can go a long way in helping couples avoid a hasty end to the marriage that leaves money or future headaches on the table. 1. Be truthfulIf you are dishonest about either financial or non-financial aspects of your marriage, it may come back to haunt you in court and in your pocketbook. If you need to, hire a financial expert to help you…

Coping with legal separation or divorce

We all have our coping mechanisms for difficult times. Sometimes those means of dealing with our troubles are rooted in beneficial behaviors and sometimes they are not. For one Maryland lawmaker, his means of coping with the difficulties of his divorce lead to an increase in excessive drinking and a boating accident that injured several people. Delegate Dwyer says that his drinking began to increase toward the end of last year's General Assembly session when his wife and he separated and then legislation he had long worked on failed due to what he feels was a betrayal by his colleagues. While one perceived betrayal would be enough to make many seek solace in a bottle, it appears that the double whammy of the divorce and failed legislation took its toll on the lawmaker. Delegate Dwyer claims that he has since gotten treatment and no longer drinks. While going through a…