By: Valerie E. Anias, Esq.
On October 1, 2018, Maryland Law expanded divorce by Mutual Consent to permit couples with minor children to divorce without waiting the formerly required one-year so long as they settled all marital issues and issues concerning the children including child support, physical custody and legal custody.
Now, more than ever, Courts are going to want to see detailed and thorough separation agreements which completely capture the settlement arrangement between parties related to the details of their marriage and children. Parties can create an all encompassing Voluntary Property Settlement and Separation Agreement as well as a Parenting Plan in order to ensure the entirety of their agreement is completely captured.
A Separation Agreement resolves all marital issues. You and your spouse will want ot discuss and settle various issues concerning marital property, child custody, child access schedule, and child support. Examples of marital property are joint bank accounts, cars, real property, debt, retirement, and alimony.
When determining custody and access, Parenting Plans encourage parents to focus on the needs of their children, how best to co-parent, and how to anticipate and/or address the various changes in their lives at the time of its creation and in the future.
Frequently parties obtain their divorce, receive their Judgment of Absolute Divorce, and some form of an access schedule, holiday schedule, and child support. What happens when this changes? What about claiming the children on your taxes? What about switching schools? Sports? Doctors? The Judgment of Absolute Divorce is frequently silent on many of these issues which results in continuous litigation. A well-drafted Parenting Plan can resolve many, if not all, of these issues. More importantly, it allows parents to come together as parents – not as spouses. They may no longer be spouses but they will always be parents.
Attorneys and mediators can help you and your family create a Separation Agreement and/or Parenting Plan that best suits your family dynamic and situation. Additionally, attorneys and mediators often know what questions to ask, problems to prepare for, things to consider that many parents in the moment don’t think about. Most importantly, settling the disputes between the spouses when it comes to them as parents also make the divorce process less painful for children. Their parents may not be married but their family will have consistency and a plan in place.
Call the attorneys at ERA Law Group, LLC today at (410) 919-1790 and ask how we can help you plan for your family.