Law Office of Kevin L. Beard, P.A.

Catonsville, Maryland, Legal Blog

An important tool to help prove your status as primary caretaker

No one has ever said that being a parent is easy. When your child is a baby and a toddler, you have to watch your little one 24-hours a day like a doting mother hen to ensure that he or she is safe and out of danger. That's in addition to the tremendous amount of time spent on other tasks, e.g., cleaning, bathing and changing diapers.

Considering what a labor of love it is to be a parent, it's a good idea to keep a record of all the things you do for your children. This will not only help you reflect on your parenting and become a better caretaker for your children, but also — from a legal perspective — your "parenting journal" or "childcare diary" could serve as a vital piece of evidence should you ever be involved in a child custody dispute in court.

Tragic vehicle collisions ends in 1 death on Interstate 70

Maryland State Police are trying to determine what caused a collision that resulted in one fatality and two injuries on a Saturday morning last month. The crash happened shortly before 5:00 a.m. in the westbound lanes of traffic on Interstate 70 in Myersville.

According to authorities, one of the vehicles involved in the crash exited the roadway and drove into the median, striking a guardrail. The collision with the guardrail caused the car to flip over on its side and come to rest across both lanes of the interstate.

The 4 most common types of vehicle accidents

No two car accidents are the same because they involve different people, places, vehicles and entirely different circumstances. Nevertheless, the vast majority of car accidents will fall into one of four categories.

Rollover crashes: Some cars are more prone to rolling over than others, such as sport utility vehicles (SUVs) that sit higher on the road than other cars. When a rollover event happens, it's common for fatalities to occur and occupants may be ejected from the cars or suffer catastrophic injuries as a result of their bodies hitting the interior of their cars. Sometimes the car manufacturer or wheel manufacturer is to blame for faulty designs that lead to these accidents.

What are family law support services?

Family courts throughout Maryland take their role seriously. In fact, six counties in the state even have Family Division and Family Services staff members who assist Maryland parents in navigating their family law issues through a variety of family support services.

The following valuable services might be available in your county:

How can I prevent conflicts with the other parent of my child?

Most newly-wed spouses never believe that they're going to get a divorce. However, not all marriages end in "happily ever after." If you're in a marriage that has an expiration date like this, and you also have children, you will need to carefully plan your divorce in a way that minimizes the potential for emotional wounds, disagreements and difficulties during the process. You will also want to create a parenting plan that seeks to reduce the chances of parental disagreements later down the road.

To create the best parenting plan possible for you and your family, here are the most essential elements to include:

What is unenforceable in terms of prenuptial agreements?

Many spouses have the idea that they can put anything inside a prenuptial agreement and -- if the other spouse signs the document -- it will be legally binding. Even though some couples agree to include questionable clauses in their prenups, these clauses may not be enforceable in a Maryland family law court. They could even result in the invalidation of the entire prenuptial agreement. As such, it's important that spouses understand the limits of these agreements before signing them.

Here are a few things that a prenuptial agreement can't do:

Are you tending to your emotional needs during your divorce?

Divorce is not an easy process emotionally, and trying to navigate the complexity of your legal proceedings can even take its toll on you physically. It's therefore important for anyone going through a divorce to pay attention to their emotional needs.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure you're as emotionally stable as possible during your divorce:

Foreign travel guidelines to protect against child abduction

As difficult as it is to believe, parents sometimes kidnap their own children, take them to foreign countries and refuse to bring them back to their rightful home in violation of child custody orders. Although the chances of this happening to you are probably slim, if the other parent of your child is a foreign national, it's definitely in the realm of possibility. As such, you may want to add some extra protections and security against the threat and potential of a child abduction by including special language within your parenting agreement.

Here's some protective language to include:

  • Neither parent may take the child out of the state or out of the country without the express permission of both parents.
  • Before traveling with the child out of state or out of country, the traveling parent must request permission from the other parent at least 14 days before the the trip.
  • When requesting permission to travel, the other parent must provide a complete travel itinerary with flight numbers, flight times, travel destinations and contact information for each destination.
  • Once traveling permission has been given, the non-traveling parent agrees to provide access to all of the child's required travel documents to the traveling parent.
  • Neither of the parents will apply for the child's passport without the permission of the other parent or the court.
  • If a passport exists for the child, the parents will keep the passport in a safe deposit box under seal of court.

Stepparent adoption when the biological parent doesn't consent

Maryland stepparents who want to adopt their stepchildren must obtain the consent of both biological parents of the children. In other words, the stepparent needs to gain consent from his or her spouse and the children's other parent. This consent could be difficult to obtain because the other parent will essentially be giving up his or her parental rights when allowing the stepparent to adopt.

In some cases where the other parent objects to the stepparent adoption, all may not be lost. Here are a few legal perspectives for stepparents to terminate the birth parent's parental rights in these situations.

Are you doing your part to prevent distracted driving?

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is doing everything it can to keep Americans safe from distracted driving. The problem is, it's only getting worse. As people throughout the United States -- and throughout the rest of the world -- become more addicted to their smartphones, it becomes harder and harder for them to put them away while they're behind the wheel. This has many safety experts blaming the recent spike in automobile-related deaths on the rising popularity of digital devices.

The NHTSA is trying to educate Americans about the dangers of distracted driving by teaming up with local law enforcement agencies to distribute public service announcements and conduct education campaigns. The central message the NHTSA wants to convey is this: Safe driving means distraction-free driving. The NHTSA is currently hitting social media websites like Twitter and Facebook with its anti-distracted driving promotional campaigns. One of the most famous campaigns that the NHTSA takes credit for is the one titled "U Drive. U Text. U Pay."

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Law Office of Kevin L. Beard, P.A.
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