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Columbia Family Law Blog

Documentary helps kids talk about their feelings on divorce

When we hear reports about divorce or the emotions associated with a particularly difficult separation we are usually hearing the events from an adult's perspective. While probably fact filled, there is another side we rarely get to hear and that is from the children who must go through the divorce as well. As the independent filmmaker Ellen Bruno says, "Kids are wise and intuitive, and when given the space to share their experience, they speak a truth that is clear and profound."

While child custody is usually the first thought when thinking about divorce, the impact of the separation usually holds the most importance. When Bruno decided to make a documentary about the effects of divorce on children, she wanted the story to come from the perspective that had the most to say: the kids themselves. In her new documentary 'Split' she asked 12 children, ages six to 12, about their feelings when it came to the divorce of their parents. It didn't surprise her that many of the kids had the same feelings.

Adding to your family by adopting children from China

When most people here in Maryland think of adoption, their minds more often than not steer towards images of Brad and Angelina Jolie. And if you ask most people here, they'll tell you that the fad of adopting children from other countries probably began with them too. But the truth of the matter is that adoptions from other countries have been going on for several decades now; and if you ask those families who have gone through the process, they will tell you that adding to their family in this manner is something they don't regret doing.

Such is the case for one family in Tennessee who were so happy with their first adoption that they have decided to follow through with the adoption of another child. But despite having gone through the process once before, they knew this time would be different, even more complicated than before.

Opening lines of communication turns lemons into lemonade

If you ask anyone in Maryland what they expect to happen after saying "I do," most people will not say that they expect to get a divorce. Despite the recent statistics suggesting that up to 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce, many people in the state have an optimistic disposition about marriage and think that they will be the couple that overcomes the odds.

But despite their best intentions, many relationships do end and when this is the case, divorce is usually the only way to have a truly happy ending. Everyone's familiar with the saying: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But what if your marriage turns to lemons? How do you then make lemonade?

Grandparent Visitation Rights

Haven't we all heard the popular quip from grandparents? "The best thing about being a grandparent is that you get to send the children home with their parents at the end of the day." But, we all know that most grandparents love their grandchildren dearly and, given our busy and hectic schedules, grandparents cherish the limited time they get to spend together with their grandchildren. Children also benefit greatly from time spent in visitation with their grandparents. Unfortunately, in the past, grandparents did not have much say over what happened to their grandchildren when their son's or daughter's families broke up. Due to family breakups or other circumstances, grandparents were, and sometimes still are, deprived of seeing their grandchildren.

Fortunately, in Maryland and in many other states, the legislatures have taken some affirmative action to assist grandparents in gaining rights to visitation with their grandchildren. Sometimes referred to as the "Grandparent Rights Act," the Maryland legislature granted jurisdiction to state courts to consider a petition for reasonable visitation of a grandchild by a grandparent. What grandparents must be aware of however, is that rights of visitation will not simply be automatically granted to them upon their filing of a petition with the courts. As in other family matters dealing with children, the courts take very seriously their responsibility to make findings and rulings that are in the best interests of the children.

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