Hess Family Law | Blog

Couples over 50 are twice as likely to get divorced as people of that age were twenty years ago.  A Bowling Green University study found that the divorce rate for people 50 and older doubled from 1990 to 2010.   This trend has been coined, “Grey Divorce”, referring to the demographic trend of an increasing divorce rate for older ("grey-haired") couples in long-lasting marriages.   Older divorcees must consider the consequences divorce may have on their retirement. Often couples over 50 have been married for twenty or more years and have substantial assets and debts between them.

A recent Washington Post article points out the unique financial issues couples face when divorcing during their retirement years. The author, Rodney Brooks commented, “divorce is not good for your retirement. That nest egg you worked so hard to accumulate must now be split and support two households instead of one.”  If one or both spouses are still working, retirement may not be feasible as early as they may have planned.   If already retired, retirement funds may be split leaving both parties unable to maintain their current lifestyle. 

Health benefits are another major concern.  Once divorced, the dependent spouse may no longer be covered on the other spouse’s plan leaving them to have to find alternate health insurance, sometimes at a high cost.    Another issue that often arises is that one spouse handled all of the financial issues during the marriage.  When a couple divorces, the less knowledgeable spouse is at a significant disadvantage.  According to Kathleen Grace, managing director at United Capital and author of Prince Not So Charming: A Romantic Tale of Financial Independence, “9 out of 10 women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives.”  Because many women choose not to work while they raise children, this statistic is significant. 

Regardless of your age, if you are considering divorce, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced Family Law Attorney.   Hess Family Law can provide expert advice based on your particular situation and goals.

Published in Divorce

Up until now, Maryland law did not permit the non-biological, and non-adopotive "parent" (de facto parent) of a child to obtain custody or have visitation with the child when the family was broken apart by separation or divorce unless the de facto parent could prove that the biological or adoptive parent of the child was unfit.  

In a landmark decision, the highest court in Maryland, the Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled that de facto parents now have standing to contest custody or visitation and need not show parental unfitness or exceptional circumstances before a trial court can apply a best interests of the child analysis.    

This decision overrules the Court’s previous decision in Janice M. v. Margaret K., decided approximately 8 years ago.  The high court determined that its holding in Janice M. contravened the “universally accepted concept” that children “need good relationships with parental figures and they need them to be stable.” 

While unanimous in their recognition of de facto parenthood, the Judges were split 4-3 on a specific four-factor test for courts to determine if an individual qualifies as a de facto parent.  The factors require

  1. that the biological or adoptive parent “consented to, and fostered” the formation and establishment of the “parent-like relationship with the child;”
  2. that the de facto parent and child lived together in the same household;
  3. that the de facto parent “assumed obligations of parenthood,” such as the child’s care, education and development without expecting payment; and
  4. that the de facto parent was in the parental role for enough time to establish “with the child a bonded, dependent relationship parental in nature,” the high court said.

Source: The Daily Record, Steve Lash, Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer July 8, 2016

Published in Custody

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Maryland:
Geraldine Welikson Hess, Esq
Hess Family Law
451 Hungerford Dr,
Suite 119-307
Rockville, Maryland 20850

Virginia:
Geraldine Welikson Hess, Esq
Hess Family Law
344 Maple Ave West,
Suite 355
Vienna, Virginia 22180

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