Monthly Archives: December 2021

Waiting Out the Holiday Season Before Filing for Divorce: How to Prepare

If you are looking to wait out the holiday season before sharing with your spouse that you intend to file for divorce – you are not alone. January has been coined “divorce month” and no doubt for this very reason. Many couples choose to wait until January to start the divorce process because they do not want to disrupt the holiday season and family traditions. If this delay is orchestrated mindfully and planned well, this timing can have important advantages for everyone involved.

Here is how to make the most of the holiday season while planning for a divorce in the New Year:

  1. Be Authentic. While you aim to create a happy holiday season for everyone involved, do not let the guilt or fear of divorce cause you to overcompensate. Be genuine in your interactions, while of course seeking to keep the peace with your spouse and in-laws. Do not fake, overdo, or over plan things that will later be viewed as disingenuous.

  2. Savor the moments. Do not experience the holidays solely through the lens of divorce. Even though divorce is imminent, that does not mean you do not have genuine feelings for your spouse or their extended family members. The holidays are still a time to celebrate life, so allow yourself the space to relish the moment and experience the holiday joy. You have shared history and children with your spouse, and all need not be lost in a divorce. Your generosity of spirit will set a positive foundation for achieving this with your spouse, and your children will benefit as well.

  3. Do not use gifts to earn your family’s goodwill. If, like most people, your finances will be impacted negatively by the upcoming changes, begin slowly curtailing expenditures. Do get creative with incisive yet meaningful gift choices—you might surprise yourself as to how much less you can spend for an even greater impact.

  4. Process your finances. What better time than the holiday season to notice your spending strengths and weaknesses. Take advantage of the delay by starting a spreadsheet of your budgetary wants versus needs. Also, since any year-end bonuses owed will likely be paid out in January, you will have the opportunity to include this in the settlement. Snagging some private time amidst the chaos to get your statements organized before beginning the divorce process in January will make you more confident and prepared for the negotiations ahead. Having the facts clearly documented will also lead to a more economical and enjoyable holiday season.

  5. Make appointments with the experts after the holidays. Setting up January meetings with your lawyer, accountant, broker, therapist, children’s therapist, etc. will allow you the confidence to feel certain that the process will be moving forward ultimately, and in an organized manner. This in turn will allow you to relax during the holiday season. Without a plan in place, you are likely to spend key family time trying to do haphazard calculations, ruminating over awards and custody, and focusing on your portfolio. Knowing that experts will be there to help in each department will remove this pressure that would take away from quality time and joy with your children and family.

The decision to hold off on divorce until after the holiday season can reinforce the glue of your familial bond with your spouse despite a failed romantic union. This can set the tone for an amicable separation process if you are able to make the season authentic and joyful. You will also be afforded lead time to process finances and line up your team of experts for post-holiday meetings in January. Contact the experienced lawyers at TNS to make the process as stress-free as possible.


If you have questions about preparing for divorce in the New Year, please contact TNS Family Law at (410) 339-4100 or Our team of attorneys is here to help guide you.


Related Posts: 
Co-Parenting During the Holiday Season
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5 Post-Divorce Actions to Take

Can I Get a Divorce in Maryland Without Going to Court?

In the state of Maryland, there are a few alternatives for couples to divorce without the delays, invasions of privacy, subjugation to court-ordered directives, and expenses associated with going to court. If you and your spouse can agree upon all or most of the terms of your divorce, you can consider these alternative dispute resolutions.


Mutual Consent Divorce

As of October 2018, if you and your spouse agree upon all the terms of your divorce, you may avoid court intervention and arduous proceedings by filing for a Mutual Consent Divorce. To do this, an agreement must first be signed resolving all property, alimony, and issues concerning the minor children including support, custody, and visitation. This ground divorce enables parties to obtain a divorce without the 1-year separation requirement.

Once the Complaint and related documents are filed, your spouse is served, and his or her Answer is filed, a hearing (virtual or in-person) will be scheduled promptly, typically within 45-60 days. Each spouse will agree to the dissolution and agreement under oath, a judgment of absolute divorce will be granted, and the marriage will be dissolved.

While you are not required to have legal representation under the Maryland mutual consent divorce law, you will likely want to have an attorney assist you with drafting and finalizing the agreement and the filing of the requisite documents. Their understanding of the process and the paperwork can make your divorce easier and more efficient.


Divorce Mediation

Even if you cannot agree upon all the terms of your separation, you can still avoid court by entering a private mediation process with your spouse. By committing to this process, you will need to agree with your spouse on the eventual terms of your divorce. By hiring a mediator – usually a family law attorney, retired Judge, or certified mediator familiar with likely outcomes in court and adept at maximizing the best interests of both parties in personalized proceedings – the spouses can spare themselves the inconvenience, depersonalization, and delay associated with a court orchestrated divorce.  

When it comes to mediation, the dates are set for both spouses to sit down (virtually or in-person) with a mediator to review all aspects of the separation of finances, living arrangements, and division of childcare responsibilities. Often, each spouse confers with their separate attorney as well, as a mediator cannot provide legal advice, either throughout the proceedings or just before finalization and execution of the agreement, to ensure that their interests have been sufficiently addressed.


Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is highly personalized and comprehensive, involving the use of professionals and experts to achieve the best outcome—as well as familial and personal harmony for both spouses and children of the marriage.

In a collaborative divorce, the spouses agree upon a team of experts in the realms of law, finance, accounting, psychology, child development, and more. This entire team is present for all meetings and negotiations, offering deep knowledge and advice for every aspect of marital dissolution and the family’s future. Once an agreement is reached, it is presented to the Court to finalize the divorce. Spouses who choose a collaborative divorce tend to rest easy, knowing they relied on multiple experts for an optimal outcome.

If you are considering divorce but want to avoid the time and expenses related to going to court, you have options. The attorneys at TNS Family Law can help determine whether a Mutual Consent Divorce, Divorce Mediation, or Collaborative Divorce are a good fit for you and your family’s circumstances.

For questions about divorce, please contact TNS Family Law at (410) 339-4100 or Our team of attorneys is here to help guide you.

Related Posts: 
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Co-parenting During the Holiday Season

With Thanksgiving having passed and Christmas and the New Year around the corner, we are officially in the holiday season. This time of year is normally associated with family gatherings, shared meals, and feelings of gratitude and joy. Following a separation or divorce, however, this joyful season can become a bit more complex.

At TNS Family Law, we help our clients create new family traditions to rejuvenate the holiday season for themselves and their families. Here are our tips and recommendations for how to co-parent during the holiday season:


Review Your Agreement

Now is the time to review your custody agreement with your co-parent and go over the schedule that has been ordered or agreed upon. Often, there are child-related issues surrounding the visitation schedule that parents need to tend to. Do this in advance so that there are no surprises during the holidays. In the event of a foreseeable disagreement regarding holiday visitation, please contact your family law attorney to help come to a resolution. In the event a disagreement cannot be resolved outside of court, there are limited opportunities for relief from the Court, including mediation, and hearings to resolve holiday disputes conducted on specified dates.


Mentally Prepare

The holidays are an emotional time for all families. The more you prepare emotionally for this the less it will rattle you—and your children and other family members will benefit as well. Whether this is your first holiday season separated or you have navigated co-parenting during the holidays previously, take some time to process the emotions that might come up before your kids are home. And do not get caught in the social media comparison trap. No, not every other couple is happily married and “perfect,” as the internet belies. Know what is and can be great about your own family, and plan out how you can make the most of that rather than focusing on what is missing.  


Plan Gift Giving

Before separation, couples normally choose gifts for their children together. Now, depending on your circumstances, you will each decide what to purchase for your children. You may consider communicating with your co-parent to ensure gifts are not repeated, or to share what you think each child may like. We also recommend that your children write down “wish lists” of what they want so that you can divvy up the purchases to further ease the situation. Just remember, the children come first. You want to ensure they feel cared about and understood.


Focus On the Children

The best way to ensure a harmonious holiday season is to focus on the children. Try to foster the spirit of the season and see the holidays through your children’s eyes.

If you sense that your child misses the other parent and he or she resides nearby, carve out some time for them to experience some moments of the season with each other. For example, offer your co-parent some time to meet the kids the day after Christmas to share and exchange gifts together if you have visitation for Christmas break, or suggest that they meet for dinner the evening of New Year’s Day to celebrate the New Year together if you have visitation for New Year’s.

We understand that this is often easier said than done if there is resentment towards your co-parent, but the dividends will pay down the road. Your generosity will likely come back to you when you want or need to see your children “off-schedule” as well. And the biggest benefit is that your kids will get the message that their parents are respecting each other’s familial needs, which is the singular most important factor in reducing the negative impacts of divorce on children.

Emotions and logistics might seem overwhelming as you approach co-parenting during the holiday season. But with thought and planning, you can replace feelings of loss and inconvenience with a joyful, memorable holiday season for your children. If you could use more guidance navigating agreements with your ex about co-parenting this holiday season, contact the experienced family law attorneys at TNS Family Law.

If you have questions about co-parenting this holiday season, please contact TNS Family Law at (410) 339-4100 or Our team of attorneys is here to help guide you.

Related Posts: 
Can I Modify My Child Custody Agreement?
Maryland Child Custody Laws
5 Post-Divorce Actions to Take

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