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Columbia Family Law Blog

Long distance parenting plans: Rules for auto transportation

It's not uncommon for two parents to live in different states. However, just because these situations are common does not mean it's easy to organize your shared parenting arrangements.

Imagine you live in a neighboring state approximately eight hours away by car, and you have visitation rights. You and your ex will need to make an agreement not only about when you will get to spend time with your children but about how you will share the automobile transportation responsibilities of getting your children from one parent to the other.

Create a detailed, yet flexible, child custody plan

When you are dealing with child custody issues, you have to make a lot of decisions. At first, it might seem overwhelming to have to address everything this entails. The good news is that if you take steps now to make these decisions, there will be less stress in the in the heat of the moment later.

Many people don't realize that the best child custody plan is one that is very detailed. Even though you want to include everything you can, you also have to find the balance between a detailed order and one with enough flexibility to allow you to address the child's needs every step of the way.

Any of these estate planning mistakes can cause trouble

Are you in the process of creating your first estate plan, or making changes to one that you already have in place? Do you have concerns about making all the right decisions? Do you have reason to believe that you need to fix a mistake you have already made?

Estate planning is easier said than done, since there are so many details you need to take into consideration. If you overlook anything, even something that doesn't appear to be a big deal, it could cause you and/or your family trouble in the future.

How to ease your child into the divorce process

Regardless of the age of your children, if you decide to divorce you'll need to bring this to light at some point. The only time this doesn't come into play is if any of your children are too young to understand what is going on.

There are many steps you can take to ease your children into the divorce process, ensuring that they know exactly what is going on now and what will happen in the future.

Naming the right person to care for your children in a will

Far too many people put off estate planning until it's too late. People may tell themselves any number of excuses for avoiding this critical process, such as that their family is still growing and changing or that they don't have enough assets yet to make the process worthwhile. In reality, if you have anyone dependent on you, either a spouse or children, if you have a retirement account or a home, you really need to create a last will and estate plan. After all, you can always review and update your will.

No one wants to think about the worst-case scenario, but what if you and your spouse die at the same time, due to an accident? That could leave your minor children or adult children with special needs in a very precarious position. The best thing you can do to protect those who depend on you and give yourself peace of mind is take the time to name someone as guardian or caregiver in your last will.

Joint custody arrangements: Are they right for you?

Psychological research has shown time and again that the more time children can spend with both mothers and fathers the better it is for their development. This has prompted Maryland family law courts to support parents seeking joint custody arrangements in which children split their time equally between living at their mother's and father's respective homes.

However, are 50/50 child custody arrangements good in all circumstances? Perhaps you feel the other parent is unfit to be an independent caretaker; or, maybe the other parent constantly wants to fight with you whenever you see one another. This could make joint custody arrangements more difficult. Let's take a closer look at these arrangements to fully understand the issues involved.

5 questions a parenting agreement should address

If the time comes to create a parenting agreement, such as during the mediation process, you need to understand what you should and shouldn't be focusing on. In other words, some details are more important than others.

The nice thing about a parenting agreement is that you can work with the other parent to ensure that both of you feel good about what the future will bring. You may have to compromise on some details, but this is all part of the process.

Which kind of joint custody fits your family's needs?

When two parents divorce or decide to end their relationship, they face the difficult task of working out a parenting agreement and custody plan. In most cases, courts prefer to award joint custody to both parents rather than only to one parent, as long as both parents demonstrate that they can work together to provide a good life for their child.

Custody issues generally revolve around what a court believes is best for the child. If one parent or the other poses some threat to safety or well-being of the child, or if only one parent has the resources to raise the child, then the court may award primary or even sole custody to one parent. Still, in most cases, the court prefers to award a form of joint custody to keep both parents involved in the life of the child.

Understanding a breathalyzer: How they malfunction

When you're accused of a DUI, you need to know that the evidence is accurate. If it's not, you face charges for something you may not have even done. For example, if the officer takes a breath sample that says you have a 0.1 percent blood alcohol concentration but your BAC is actually .05, that's a major difference and the difference between a drunk driving charge or going home that night.

Blood alcohol tests are most accurate when they're taken from blood. Despite that, breath tests performed on roadsides are standard and used as evidence in court.

Choosing an executor for your will is a big deal

It's easy to believe that creating an estate plan is as simple as deciding who will receive what upon your passing. While this is a big part of the process, there are other details that will come into play along the way.

For example, you need to choose an executor for your will. This sounds complicated, but it can be a simple task if you know which steps to take and how to make a final decision.