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Alimony Considerations with the New Tax Law

Alimony Considerations with the New Tax LawIf you are in the middle of divorce proceedings, the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) may give you a big incentive to move quickly and have your divorce agreement finalized and signed by December 31, 2018. Or it may give you a big incentive to do the exact opposite – wait until after January 1, 2019, to execute the agreement. It all depends on whether you’ll be making alimony payments, or receiving them. Alimony rules have been historically frustrating, mostly because every state has its own rules about the amount and length of payments. "There's not really a cohesive rationale for alimony," Mary Kay Kisthardt, a professor of law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, told MSNBC. "In any given state, we're not sure what we're trying to do." One rule has been clear for all alimony arrangements, up until now. Currently, the payers of alimony can…

Sale in Lieu of Partition

Sale in Lieu of PartitionIf you share ownership of property with one or more parties, there may come a time when someone wants to sell the property or wants out of the partnership. Unless all parties can reach an agreement that allows everyone their “fair share” of the proceeds from the sale or transfer of the property, an owner may file a partition action with the court. Through a partition action, an owner asks the court to divide the property among the owners. Of course, a building can’t be divided, and Maryland property code says that if “the property cannot be divided without loss or injury to the parties,” the court shall order the sale of the property. This is known as sale in lieu of partition. In some situations, a sale in lieu of partition may be the only way for owners to be compensated for their share of the property. But, for many reasons,…

Divorce and Business: How to Protect Your Interests

MD Business LawyerIf you start a business with a person who is married, you may not realize that you have two business partners instead of one. Any property acquired during marriage belongs to both spouses (unless the property was a gift or inheritance to one spouse). Unless a legal agreement specifically limits one spouse’s interest, if a couple divorces, your business partner’s spouse has a stake in the business. And that could be a big threat to your livelihood. How to Prepare for the Worst In a divorce, if couples don’t already have agreements about division of property, the court will decide how to distribute assets. And in Maryland, courts are not obligated to divide assets 50-50. The distribution of marital property need only be “equitable.” An attorney in San Diego told Entrepreneur magazine that during the startup phase, owners should set up legal agreements that require their spouses to sell their…

Collection of Rent if Tenant Breaches Lease Early

Maryland Landlord AttorneyFor landlords, the ideal tenant is one who signs a year-long lease, takes good care of the property, and always pays the rent on time. But many landlords come to learn that tenants won’t always be ideal. When tenants move out before the end of their lease, landlords can end up in a precarious financial situation. They could sue the tenant for breach in an attempt to recover unpaid rent, but landlords must also make a reasonable effort to find new tenants, according to Maryland law. If a new tenant moves into the vacated unit, the previous tenant is responsible for payment of rent only for the time the unit was unoccupied. Landlords may be fortunate enough to have tenants who never break their leases, but it’s always wise to prepare for that eventuality and understand the rights and obligations of both the tenant and the landlord. The Enforceability of…

Factors Affecting Modification of Custody Orders

Child CustodyWhen you become a stepfather, it may take time to adjust to the role. And if you have children of your own, your new blended family may experience some growing pains while everyone becomes accustomed to their living arrangements. A significant change in one’s family relationship may be cause for reevaluating existing custody arrangements. Sometimes, when people remarry, their former spouses feel resentful and don’t want their children living in that home. A new marriage can also create a stronger financial foundation, so newly married couples may wish to modify custody because they believe a child would have a better life in their custody. A child may have strong preferences, too, about where he or she wants to live. A custody order cannot be modified without there being a material change in circumstances, and the process of modifying custody can be complicated. If you or your former spouse are seeking…

Top things Maryland parents should say to their kids in a divorce

It is never easy to go through the end of a relationship, whether one is living in Maryland or elsewhere. This can be particularly true if children are involved. Parents who want to minimize the negative fallout from the dissolution of their marriage may choose to participate in mediation or collaborative divorce. Open communication plays a large part in the success of either. The following are some common topics that could be addressed during the process. You are not to blame. It doesn't matter how old the child is when divorce occurs -- he or she will want to know why it is happening. It is important to offer regular validation that they do not share any responsibility for what's taking place. Your feelings are valid, whatever they are. It is not unusual for emotions to vary widely from day to day, or even minute to minute, during a divorce.…

Divorce mistakes Maryland couples should avoid in social media

The end of a relationship can often be a trying and emotional time, whether a person is living in Maryland or elsewhere. Although it may appear to improve one's outlook to vent about an ongoing divorce or annoying soon-to-be ex, it can rarely help the situation -- especially when the complaints are made public through social media venues like Facebook or Twitter. What are the most common mistakes people make and how can they be avoided? Here are a few tips. Social media is both public and permanent. Don't make the mistake of assuming a Facebook post or blog entry can only be seen by the people who have authorized access. Deleting posts later is not a good option either. Once something is posted, it's out there. If someone is looking, chances are good that it can be found. Personal posts are not the only things that can be used…

Errors Maryland couples could avoid when going through divorce

Going through a divorce can be an emotional and stressful experience. Unfortunately, being exposed to such high levels of stress could drive a person to feel anger and act in malicious ways, which may be out of character. Maryland residents who are in the process of going through a divorce may want to avoid certain foolish errors that are commonly made by people who are angered and emotional. One of the common mistakes for a spouse to avoid is purposely increasing the legal costs of the litigation. This action is often made out of vengeance and can be financially detrimental to both parties. Another error to avoid is the failure to attend to future financial planning. Being prepared for all the extra expenses associated with operating independently may help each party to better adapt to his or her new circumstances. Unemotional discussions regarding both parenting time and child support are…

Understanding when divorce is not the right option

When a Maryland marriage is faltering, spouses have to make a series of difficult decisions regarding whether to remain married and try to work through their difficulties, or if the time has come to throw in the towel and move forward as singles. There are certain marital scenarios that are absolutely beyond repair. However, most couples would be well served to give their relationship every possible chance for success before the decision is made to file for divorce. One sign that divorce may not be the best path is when one or both spouses waiver when faced with making a definitive decision on the matter. Even when things have seriously deteriorated between a husband and wife, the choice to end the marriage is a serious one. Until a spouse is certain that divorce is the best course of action, it is better to err on the side of caution than…

What Maryland couples should know about marital property division

Unfortunately, not all marriages work out. When going through the divorce process, couples often disagree on the division of assets. State laws regarding separate property are fairly uniform, but the division of marital property can vary. Maryland residents facing divorce proceedings may find a recent article helpful as they attempt to negotiate who is entitled to different marital items. Separate property is typically defined as items owned before the marriage, an inheritance or property that is already identified as such in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Having a preemptive prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help individuals feel confident that these items are secure and will remain theirs after the divorce is final. However, when no such agreement exists, it may be beneficial for individuals to ensure these items are specifically listed as the divorce process moves forward. Some states are considered community property states while others have equitable division laws.…