The 2018 Legislative Session began on January 10, 2018 and brings with it some possible changes to Maryland Family Law.
On this week’s #FamilyFriday article, the attorneys of ERA Law Group, LLC want to bring to your attention some possible changes in Maryland Family Law! The 2018 Legislative Session began on January 10, 2018 and brings with it some possible changes to Maryland Family Law.
Divorce – Mutual Consent
As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, divorce by mutual consent allows spouses to divorce within one (1) year of their separation and is available only to those married couples that have settled all marital issues and do not have any children in common. Now, for the third time, there is an attempt to allow spouses with minor children in common to obtain a divorce by mutual consent.
Child Support – Driver’s License Suspension
Parents who fail to pay child support could potentially suffer serious consequences such as having their license suspended. In this session there is an attempt to exempt individuals from having their license suspended if their income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.
Child Support – Income
When determining child support, it is only the actual gross income of the parents that are considered. Even if one of the parent’s is re-married their spouse’s income is not factored into the child support equation. In this session there is an attempt to allow a Court to consider a parent’s spouse’s income when determining that parent’s child support obligation. Additionally, under the same considerations, the Court may order payment of attorney fees in proportion of each parties’ adjusted actual incomes.
Visitation and Child Custody – Terms
Currently the term used for describing the time awarded to the non-custodial parent is “visitation.” Additionally, the term used to describe decision making authority is “child custody.” In this session there is an attempt to replace the word “visitation” with “parenting time” and the term “child custody” with “legal decision making.”
If you have a family law related issue or question, call the attorneys of ERA Law Group, LLC today at (410) 919-1790!
Frequently parents are confused by the child support calculation when considering their other bills and obligations. What many don’t realize is that in nearly all scenarios the amount of child support ordered is determined by a calculator and factors such as “I have student loans” or “I have rent to pay” don’t necessarily matter.
On this week’s #FamilyFriday article, the attorneys’ at ERA Law Group, LLC want to explain exactly how child support is calculated. Frequently parents are confused by the child support calculation when considering their other bills and obligations. What many don’t realize is that in nearly all scenarios the amount of child support ordered is determined by a calculator and factors such as “I have student loans” or “I have rent to pay” don’t necessarily matter.
Maryland uses a Child Support Guideline formula to calculate child support. Both parents are required to complete a Financial Statement which outlines the various components of that formula. First, the parents identify their actual monthly income. This would include salary, Social Security benefits, alimony, etc. Second, the parents then identify earlier child support or alimony obligations – per Court Order – which will reduce their actual monthly income. This is called their adjusted monthly income. Third, if there are any work related child care expenses, health insurance expenses, or extraordinary medical expenses such as braces, those will also be identified by both parents.
Once both parties’ have identified the above, the formula then predicts what percentage of the parents combined income would have been attributed to the child(ren) had they continued living together. This number is then used to determine the “basic child support obligation.” The additional factors such as work-related child care and health insurance are incorporated to determine the “total child support obligation” that the non-custodial parent would be responsible for paying to the custodial parent. Some exceptions exist, such as, if a parent receives Social Security Income, food stamps, or transitional services which would not be considered actual monthly income.
If you or a loved one need help obtaining child support for your children, call ERA Law Group today at (410) 919-1790 or visit our website at www.eralawgroup.com!
When there’s a large disparity in income, assets, debts, etc. some spouses fear life without the financial contribution from their spouse and ask if they would be entitled to alimony. The answer is maybe.
Spouses take on various financial roles in a marriage. Some stay home, some work part-time while the other is the breadwinner, and some play equal roles. When there’s a large disparity in income, assets, debts, etc. some spouses fear life without the financial contribution from their spouse and ask if they would be entitled to alimony. The answer is maybe. This week’s #FamilyFriday article breaks down the road to obtaining alimony.
In Maryland, the Court has a number of factors it must consider when determining an alimony award. Some of these factors include each parties ability to be self-supporting, a party’s ability to obtain suitable employment, length of marriage, standard of living, the age of each party, any agreements between the parties and the health of the parties. Some factors play bigger roles in the Court’s decision-making process than others. For example, a spouse married for 30 years, in their 60s, and having been a stay at home parent may be in a greater position of obtaining alimony than a marriage less than 5 years with both spouses making equal salaries.
After analyzing the various factors the Court can: (a) decline to award alimony, (b) award temporary alimony, or (c) award permanent/indefinite alimony. When presenting your case for an alimony award, your attorney should strongly advocate those factors which play an important role in your case. Your attorney should place emphasis on the length of marriage, the disparity in income, the likelihood of the less economically stable spouse to become more economically stable, the need for additional education, and, if applicable, highlight the circumstances surrounding the divorce. A party who has physically and emotionally abused their spouse who is seeking alimony would play a far great role in the Court’s decision making than the couple who is seeking a divorce based on a voluntary separation.
In the event you and your spouse can reach an agreement about alimony, you should also consider some potential alternatives. The alimony paying spouse may not want to have a monthly payment but may be willing to make a one-time large sum payment. For example, perhaps the alimony paying spouse would rather offer you their share of the equity in the home than pay you alimony each month for the next 5 years. When reaching an agreement you should speak with an attorney to be sure you don’t, or understand the consequences if you do, waive alimony.
Divorce is an emotional roller coaster. You may not know what questions to ask, what rights you have, and what you may be entitled to but the attorneys at ERA Law Group, LLC today can help!