Jeffrey N. Greenblatt

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Jeffrey N. Greenblatt of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA

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Rockville MD Divorce Law Blog

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Establishing paternity might be first step in child custody case

People in Maryland who have questions about child custody and support may have strong ideas about what they think is right and what they want to see happen in their case. They have often lived their predicament day-in and day-out for weeks, months or even years, and are intimately familiar with the facts of their case. However, the court, which hears thousands of child custody and support cases every year in Maryland, takes a cautious approach that might frustrate those who are anxious for results.

In some child custody cases, the court must essentially start from scratch and establish the true parents or guardians of the child. In some cases, this is not a disputed fact and the parents or guardians are well-established by law, but in some cases the inquiry becomes a little more complex. For these complex cases, establishment may be necessary. Legal paternity or guardianship can be sometimes be determined by a simple DNA test, but in other cases, including an increasing number of same-sex and non-traditional family structure cases, the court must go through an evidentiary hearing in order to determine whether the parties have standing and rights in the matter.

Tax refund may be perfect opportunity to file for divorce

People in Maryland who have been biding their time and considering whether, and when, to file for divorce have a lot of things to consider. But the truth is, most people know when their marriage isn't going to survive in the long haul, and at some point they should probably ask themselves what they are waiting for. If the answer is that they are simply unsure of how to go about it, or that they are just too concerned about the uncertainty to come, then those people probably just need a little positive reinforcement to get things going in the direction they want.

For a lot of people, finances are the main reason they put off divorce. In the long run, people may be concerned that they won't have enough to live on without their spouses' incomes, but for some people, the answer is more immediate. Divorce can be expensive and saving up for legal fees as well as emergency living expenses can be difficult.

Child custody issues never really stop until child turns 18

People in a child support or child custody situation in Maryland know that the saying "nothing lasts forever" is true when it comes to raising children. Unfortunately, for many parents, this saying applies particularly when it comes to developing and sticking to a parenting plan. Many parents, even those who have a relatively good and open means of communication with the other parent, are bound to disagree on how to raise the children at some point; when these disagreements occur, it's important to make sure that they are resolved quickly and reasonably.

As a child grows, his or her needs change and it is up to the parents to provide the child with an environment and activities in which they can continue to develop healthy interests and behaviors. Reasonable people can differ on how to do this, which is why parenting is such a fertile ground for disagreements. Choosing extracurricular activities, sports, and even friends are things that parents may have some control over, not to mention other issues like whether to let the child get a cell phone or eventually a car of his or her own. These issues can all be stumbling blocks, especially for parents who are prone to arguments.

Being prepared to enforce a child custody order

In a lot of divorce cases, parents work hard to negotiate with the other parent, taking great pains to keep things civil and amicable while discussing some of the harder issues in their divorce and child custody situation. Unfortunately, even after an agreeable parenting plan is ordered, sometimes the other parent will start finding ways to stretch the limits of that agreement.

When a parent refuses to adhere to the parenting plan, this is known as custodial interference. Sometimes it starts as little incidents here and there, and the other parent may make excuses to keep the parent from spending time with the children. It may be something like "she doesn't feel well" or "they have too much homework." Of course, incidents in life happen and sticking to every single scheduled event is difficult, but if this pattern continues or increases and begins to cause a parent to miss out on substantial parenting time with the children, it may be time to take action.

Are there disadvantages to getting a court order for custody?

Parents in Maryland who are going through a divorce or have recently gone through a divorce know that discussions about the child with the other parent may be inevitable. These discussions can be uncomfortable at times, but parents who are going to be in a custody-sharing situation probably need to accept that opening lines of communication with their ex may be something they simply have to do for the good of their kids. These discussions can be the foundation for a workable parenting, custody or visitation plan between the parents.

Whether the other parent is going to be cooperative or not, it is probably in everyone's best interests to get a court-ordered child custody arrangement into place. In fact, unless there are good reasons for denying the other parent custody rights, the court will presume that joint custody is in the best interests of the children. Some parents may worry that taking the other parent to court to work out their differences will provoke the other parent or make the situation more adversarial than necessary, but getting a child custody order may be the only way to enforce the parenting agreement if disagreements or conflicts arise in the future.

Actress says divorce is good for kids

Many pay attention to celebrity divorces. While this could be entertaining for some, for the parties involved, it is difficult for those going through it. Having the details of a divorce in the public eye could be seen as a negative event, but some seek to turn the process into a positive experience.

Residents in Maryland may have heard about the controversial statements made by actress Kate Winslet, who is perhaps best known for her leading role in the blockbuster "Titanic". Winslet, discussing her personal life in an interview, stated that she thought her two previous divorces may have actually been a good thing for her children, since struggling builds character.

High asset divorce is often "high stakes" as well

Marriage might be one of the biggest decisions a person makes in their life. That is, until they are faced with the possibility of a divorce, which may have legal repercussions that are ultimately even greater than the decision to marry. With the high stakes involved in a complex divorce, high net worth individuals should never leave major legal issues to chance, and with the help of an experienced Maryland family law attorney, they should be prepared for every contingency.

The biggest change that comes with a divorce might be the financial side of life. When a person has been married for many years and has accumulated significant assets during that time, they may be shocked to learn how much their spouse expects to obtain in the divorce settlement. In Maryland, each spouse gets an equitable division of the marital property, even when one of the spouses is the primary contributor to the couple's income.

An overview of the appeals process

The Maryland state court system is a source of plenty of confusion, especially for people who are new to the legal processes that go into adjudicating a family law issue. In most family law issues, the parent or spouse will be required to appear before the Maryland circuit court, except for certain domestic violence-related issues, which will generally appear before the district court. Often, a case before the circuit court or district court will appear before a different court on appeal.

Maryland, like all other states, has a multi-tiered hierarchy of appeals courts, but unlike the common names in most states, the Maryland court system's names for these appeals courts may be somewhat misleading. In most states, cases tried before the district court go to the court of appeals, and then if the matter goes any further, it may appear before that state's supreme court.

What can you do if you think the court's findings are wrong?

After reading about the high asset divorce of billionaire Harold Hamm and his ex-wife, a lot of people probably have questions about how the process works. The Oklahoma court found that Mr. Hamm owed his ex approximately $1 billion dollars from the asset division of their marital property, but it turns out that both parties are appealing the court's decision. Both parties are claiming that the court got it wrong, one is arguing the amount is too low, the other is arguing it is too high. So what happens now?

In Maryland, all family law cases start off in the Maryland Circuit Courts, where the judge takes a look at the facts presented by both parties and makes decisions on matters where the couple cannot agree or as required by law. The Circuit Court's order is binding, but if a party thinks that the court made an error on a matter of law or judgment, they still have the right to appeal the Circuit Court's ruling. These appeals are heard by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

Divorced wife refuses husbands $975 million check

People in Maryland may recall the groundbreaking high asset divorce of oil tycoon Harold Hamm and his wife, Sue Ann Arnell back in 2014. Their divorce made headlines because of Hamm's extraordinary net worth, as well as the amount of marital property up for grabs in their divorce settlement. Hamm had an estimated net worth of close to $19 billion, a substantial portion of which he accrued during his marriage.

The Oklahoma district court reached a ruling on the asset division between the two in November of 2014, awarding Ms. Arnell approximately $1 billion. Even though it was the largest divorce settlement in U.S. history, Ms. Arnell appealed the ruling just a month later, citing alleged mistakes made by the court which, according to her side, should have led to her obtaining an even greater amount. Mr. Hamm also appealed the ruling arguing just the opposite; that the ruling resulted in her getting an unreasonably high amount of the marital assets.

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