Regina’s Blog

Regina’s Blog2016-11-01T18:59:38-04:00

Regina's Blog


This is a blog about relationships, and it covers dating, marriage, parenting, modern family dynamics and divorce as seen from the very personal perspective of a divorced divorce lawyer.

2109, 2023

Big Changes in Family Law for Maryland Couples!

By |September 21st, 2023|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

As of October 1, 2023 Maryland will no longer have fault grounds for divorce. Instead we will only have these 3 grounds for divorce: (1) Mutual Consent; (2) Irreconcilable Differences; or (3) a 6 month separation, which may be under the same roof. This will hopefully streamline the process and reduce the amount of conflict between couples looking to divorce, who are essentially are being directed to just focus on how to execute the separation and not the why. The filing process itself has also become much easier, as we now file everything online and since 2020 all of my scheduling conferences and uncontested hearings in Maryland have been via Zoom.  Aside from experiencing a far more efficient court process, there is a significant cost savings to the clients. Given that in person meetings are rarely necessary anymore, I have also enjoyed reaching clients from a far greater range throughout Maryland and DC than ever before. Personally, I believe these changes were all long overdue. While I have found it incredibly interesting to work with families in transition the past 25 years, watching them struggle to navigate the challenges of the court process has been difficult. I have always felt the more we can do to lighten their load, the better. Now my job in helping them get to the finish line is becoming far easier, and for this I am eternally grateful.   By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.

2408, 2023

Postnuptial Agreement: Did You Fail to Plan Ahead Before Your Wedding?

By |August 24th, 2023|Categories: Blog|

Are you finding yourself facing unexpected financial and/or emotional turmoil after your dream wedding? Did you fail to plan ahead for the possibility of a divorce? If so, you're not alone. Many couples neglect to consider the potential consequences of a failed marriage, assuming that love will conquer all. However, it's important to be prepared for any outcome, and that's where a postnuptial agreement can come into play. A postnuptial agreement is a legal document that outlines the division of marital assets and responsibilities in the unfortunate event of a divorce. It allows couples to protect themselves and their assets, ensuring a fair and equitable outcome. While a postnuptial agreement may not be the most romantic topic, it's a practical and responsible step that can provide peace of mind for both parties. By planning ahead with a postnuptial agreement, you can alleviate stress and uncertainty, allowing you to focus on building a strong and loving marriage. So, if you failed to plan ahead before your wedding, it's never too late to protect yourself and your future. Don't let the fear of the unknown hold you back—take charge and secure your financial and emotional well-being with a postnuptial agreement. What is a postnuptial agreement? A postnuptial agreement, also known as a post-marital agreement, is a legal contract entered into by a married couple after they tie the knot. It specifies how their assets, debts, and other obligations will be divided in the event of a divorce, separation, or death. This agreement allows couples to establish guidelines for their financial and personal affairs, providing clarity and protection should their marriage end. Postnuptial agreements can cover various aspects, including property division and alimony/ spousal support Couples can redefine what will be considered separate vs. joint property, and set limits on alimony. The terms outlined in the agreement can be customized to fit the specific needs and circumstances of the couple, ensuring a fair and amicable resolution in case of a marital breakdown. The importance of planning ahead before your wedding While it may be tempting to focus solely on the joy and excitement of planning your wedding, it's crucial to also consider the practical aspects of your future together. Planning ahead with a postnuptial agreement can help safeguard your financial well-being and protect your interests, should the unforeseen happen. One of the main advantages of a postnuptial agreement is that it allows [...]

2707, 2023

What is Collaborative Divorce and Do You Need a Lawyer?

By |July 27th, 2023|Categories: Blog|

Divorce is never easy, and it can be a long and painful process. However, there is a relatively new method of divorce that has been gaining popularity in recent years: collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorce is a voluntary process in which both parties work together with their respective attorneys and other professionals to reach a settlement agreement that is fair and beneficial for everyone. It is different from traditional divorce in that it aims to reduce conflict and promote cooperation between parties. But do you need a lawyer for collaborative divorce? In this article, we'll explore the benefits of collaborative divorce and why having a lawyer is essential. The differences between collaborative divorce and traditional divorce Collaborative divorce is a method of divorce that is very different from traditional divorce. In traditional divorce, each party hires their own attorney, and they often go to court to settle their differences. This can be a long, drawn-out process that can be very expensive and emotionally draining for all involved. Collaborative divorce, on the other hand, involves both parties working together with their respective attorneys to come to an agreement outside of court. This process is typically much faster and less expensive than traditional divorce, and it can be much less stressful for everyone involved. Another difference between collaborative divorce and traditional divorce is the level of conflict involved. In traditional divorce, each party hires his/her own experts and is typically trying to get as much as they can out of the settlement, which can lead to a great deal of conflict and animosity between the parties. In collaborative divorce, both parties hire joint experts and working together to come to an agreement that is fair and beneficial for everyone involved. This approach can help reduce conflict and promote cooperation, which can be very beneficial for children and other family members involved in the divorce. The benefits of collaborative divorce There are many benefits to collaborative divorce, including the fact that it can be much faster and less expensive than a litigated divorce. In addition, collaborative divorce can be much less stressful for everyone involved, as it promotes cooperation rather than conflict. This can be very beneficial for children and other family members involved in the divorce, as they may be less likely to experience the emotional turmoil that often accompanies traditional divorce. Another benefit of collaborative divorce is that it allows both parties [...]

2006, 2023

Getting A Divorce in Montgomery County MD: The Role of a Divorce Lawyer

By |June 20th, 2023|Categories: Blog|

Divorce is a difficult decision that can have a significant impact on your life. If you're considering ending your marriage you may be wondering about the role of a divorce lawyer. A divorce lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in handling divorce cases and can provide you with invaluable guidance and support during this challenging time. They can help you navigate the complex legal system, protect your rights, and ensure that you receive a fair settlement. In this article, we'll explore the role of a divorce lawyer in Montgomery County, MD, and how they can assist you in getting a divorce. Whether you're facing a contested or uncontested divorce, having a skilled and knowledgeable divorce lawyer by your side can make all the difference. So, let's dive in and learn more about how they can help you through this difficult journey. The Role of a Divorce Lawyer A divorce lawyer plays a critical role in helping you navigate the legal process of ending your marriage. They can provide you with valuable advice and support, ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the process. A divorce lawyer can also help you understand the legal requirements for getting a divorce in Montgomery County, MD, and ensure that you follow the necessary steps to complete the process. One of the most important roles of a divorce lawyer is to help you negotiate a fair settlement. This includes dividing marital assets, determining spousal support, and establishing child custody and support arrangements if necessary. A divorce lawyer can guide you through the process, ensuring that your interests are represented and that your settlement is fair and equitable. A divorce lawyer can also help you understand the legal implications of your divorce. This includes understanding the tax implications of your settlement and any other legal issues that may arise during the process. They can also provide you with valuable advice on how to protect your rights and ensure that your interests are protected throughout the process. Benefits of Hiring a Divorce Lawyer Hiring a divorce lawyer can provide you with a range of benefits during the divorce process. One of the most significant benefits is that they can help you navigate the legal system. Divorce proceedings can be complex and difficult to understand, and having a skilled lawyer by your side can help you make sense of the process and ensure that you follow the [...]

2405, 2023

The Top Things to Consider Including in Your Prenuptial Agreement

By |May 24th, 2023|Categories: Blog|

Getting married is an exciting time in your life. It is important to consider the potential legal and financial implications of your union. That's where a prenuptial agreement comes in. While it may not be the most romantic aspect of wedding planning, a prenup can provide peace of mind and protect your assets in the event of a divorce. This is even more important as 40% to 50% of marriages end in divorce. But what should you include in your prenuptial agreement? From property division and spousal support, to the logistics of selling the marital home in the event of a separation, there are several critical elements to consider. In this article, we'll explore the top things to include in your prenuptial agreement so you can feel confident and prepared for your future together. So, whether you're getting ready to tie the knot or just curious about prenups, read on to learn more! Understanding the Importance of a Prenuptial Agreement A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that outlines how assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce. It can also address other important issues, such as spousal support and alimony. While no one wants to think about the possibility of divorce, it's important to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. A prenup can help avoid costly legal battles down the road. One of the most significant benefits of a prenuptial agreement is that it can protect assets that were acquired before the marriage. For example, if you own a home or have a significant amount of savings, a prenup can ensure that you maintain control over those assets in the event of a divorce. Without a prenup, those assets could be subject to division according to certain state laws. Another important consideration is that a prenup can help avoid conflicts that may arise in the event of a divorce. By setting clear expectations upfront, both parties can feel more secure and confident in their financial futures. A prenup can also help protect any children from a previous marriage by ensuring that their inheritance is preserved. What to Include in a Prenuptial Agreement When drafting a prenuptial agreement, it's important to consider all the relevant issues that may arise in the event of a divorce. In 2021, the divorce rate in the US stood at 2.5 per 1,000 people. Every situation is unique, there are some [...]

1005, 2023

How To Reframe A Difficult Mother’s Day

By |May 10th, 2023|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Twenty five years ago I graduated from George Washington University Law School on Mother's Day weekend, and soon thereafter I immersed myself in the practice of family law in our nation's capital.  Although the first five years were relatively straight forward, the past two decades have definitely been hard juggling a challenging career and motherhood.  A year after opening my own law firm, I got divorced, which made the decision to remain self-employed as a single mother a whole lot scarier, yet somehow I persevered hoping to set a positive example for my son, who was a huge source of inspiration for me especially during COVID when we became so isolated from colleagues, family and friends. Last year, my son launched, and unfortunately his life choices have caused a huge rift within my family, particularly my own mother, who has once again stopped talking to me because somehow I have failed to meet her expectations.  What's lost on her is that after law school I stopped letting her guilt trips get to me, and the past 20 years as a mother I have learned the beauty of giving unconditional love, which I never got from her. Some parents model for us the behavior we want to pass on to our children, while others model for us what we don't want to replicate in our own lives.  For me it was definitely the latter, because despite years in therapy I never fully got over her hyper-critical and judgmental tendencies, or how she would ignore boundaries and dismiss my feelings.  Her emotional blackmail and erratic moods drove me to the point that at age 15 I opted for boarding school and never really returned for long after that. Until I had my own child, Mother's Day was always difficult for me because none of those sappy cards ever applied and the desire to celebrate with my own mother was non-existent.  Once I had my own little bundle of joy that all changed, and for years I looked forward to making the day special for us-- at least until he hit puberty  and then it became far more difficult to get him to cooperate with what he considered a fake holiday created by Hallmark. Well, we all know teenagers can be difficult, and yet I remain hopeful that at some point my son will figure things out.  In the meantime, I accept [...]

205, 2023

5 Tips For Managing A Domestic Partnership

By |May 2nd, 2023|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Although fewer people may be walking down the aisle these days, there are still  plenty of couples that cohabitate together, sometimes as a test-run prior to getting married, but not necessarily.  Over the past two decades, I have learned as a matrimonial attorney not to make  any assumptions, however, if you want to successfully navigate shacking up together here are some tough discussions you need to have before moving in together: What is an equitable division of household expenses?  First you need to establish a realistic housing budget and agree on what counts as joint expenses, which typically include housing, food, and shared travel and entertainment.  Then, if you don't earn the same, it probably isn't fair to split everything evenly.  However, if someone is paying off significant debt either from a student loan or prior obligations (such as alimony or child support) then maybe using a pro rata share of net income is more appropriate than focusing on just gross income numbers. How will you manage your finances?  Most modern couples have a joint account for shared expenses, but they maintain separate accounts for their separate expenses, such as clothing, transportation, medical costs, debt or independent travel and entertainment.  However, not everybody has a transparent discussion about what those separate expenses look like or how they may impact future choices.  If the plan is to eventually buy a house together or grow old together, then I would suggest you embrace total transparency as your policy with each other. Which chores do you want to tackle separately vs. together?  Often, the most efficient way to divide up tasks is to divide and conquer by playing into each other's strengths.  Usually, one person is the better cook, while another one might enjoy doing laundry more.  Be honest about what you are capable of taking on, and also what you would prefer to farm out.  For example, if you both hate cleaning and/or lack the time, then look into hiring a cleaning service.  If neither one of you enjoys cooking, maybe consider taking turns using a meal prep service.  The key is to not take on more than you are able to handle and letting resentment build up. What happens in the event of an illness, death or a separation?   These are admittedly not pleasant topics to discuss, but you do need to plan ahead in the event someone gets sick-- [...]

2802, 2023

Families Are Like Rock Bands, They Break Up

By |February 28th, 2023|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In just a few months I will be celebrating 25 years as a family lawyer in our nation's capital.  That means half my life I've been helping to restructure hundreds of families tackling major issues related to their finances and children, as well as the redistribution of responsibilities and resources.  Meanwhile, despite my best efforts, my own family has gone through several painful reorganization endeavors with incredibly mixed results.  The fact is after all these years, my conclusion is best summarized in this one line from the new movie, The Jesus Revolution: families are like rock bands, they break up. The most common factors contributing to a falling out among family members are disagreements over (1) money, (2) kids, (3) an individual's poor choices and/or bad behaviors that negatively impacts others, and (4) unmet expectations.   These issues are easily exacerbated during trying times by our inability to communicate effectively and respectfully.  Family problems never just go away on their own, and unfortunately left unattended tend to slowly erode trust and respect until there is nothing left but deep resentment and contempt. Over the past two decades while navigating motherhood and an intense professional life, I wish I could say my family has always stood by me, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  All the plot twists and turns in our story could easily make a telenovela seem like a child's fairytale.  Instead, it's been the support of my peers and friends that have kept me going on my journey, which has been chock full of trials and tribulations, particularly over the past decade in the category of romantic partners. After my own divorce, I easily lost sight of the big picture while focused on the daily mundane tasks at hand.  Months quickly turned into years without a true partner to share in all the joys and sorrows of life, and then COVID hit.  There's nothing like a worldwide pandemic and a milestone birthday to shake you out of auto-pilot mode and force you to reckon with questions about your true purpose, desired legacy and the meaning of life. One might easily surmise that I have become jaded to the point that I no longer believe in the institution of marriage, particularly as a divorce attorney.  I will admit there have been times when I have had my sincere doubts--especially with a mother that never married and a [...]

2901, 2023

Are You Struggling With A Family Estrangement?

By |January 29th, 2023|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

According to several recent publications approximately one-third of all families are struggling with some type of estrangement.  There are several reasons an estrangement may occur within a family, including when (1) there is significant abuse/neglect by a parent; (2) relatives disapprove of someone's choice in a bride or groom, or the dynamic with in-laws becomes problematic as time progresses; (3) a couple gets divorced and maybe relatives sympathize more with the other spouse; (4)  there is conflict over money, especially an inheritance; (5) someone fails to live up to the family's expectations or (6) there is firm disapproval of a person's lifestyle choices.  Fault Lines, by Dr. Karl Pillemer is a fantastic book that I recently read, which does an excellent job of providing examples of each such scenario, as well as tips for coping with and/or overcoming this difficult situation. As a family lawyer for over two decades, I have been privy to many stories of family rifts, and I have also witnessed the ripple effect that they tend to have over generations.  Sadly, we have experienced this situation many times within my own family, and as a result I have come to accept that sometimes despite our best efforts, some relationships simply cannot be repaired.  Unfortunately, we rarely talk about these painful issues and many often just don't understand what could lead someone to completely sever ties-- a dilemma that is poignantly portrayed in the recent movie The Banshees of Inisherin.  The truth is it only takes one person to opt out of a relationship and often the full extent of the collateral damage is left unknown for years.  Within my own family, my mother was estranged from her father as a child, and this has always haunted her.  I was estranged from my father, and it took me years in therapy to work through the trust and abandonment issues that resulted from that experience.  The lingering issues that I have with both my parents have undoubtedly impacted my own relationship with my son, and we may never fully comprehend the full extent of how these rifts have been absorbed by my extended family.  The undeniable reality, however, is that at this point no amount of repair work will ever fully heal the wounds that have cut deep into the fabric of our lives.  When you can't count on your own family, it begs the question: who [...]

2401, 2023

How Will You Celebrate Valentine’s Day?

By |January 24th, 2023|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Valentine’s Day, which some have reclaimed as Single Awareness Day is just a few weeks away– and there is still plenty of time to make a plan with or without a significant other.  In past years when I was single I would always treat myself to something and make an effort to celebrate with friends, mainly because I believe the day is about celebrating love, not just a romantic partnership. Whether you treat yourself to a fun yoga class, a massage, a new outfit, some chocolates or a night at the movies, the point is to make sure you recognize Valentine's Day for yourself in some way.  Why? Because the saying is true- you are not going to find the right love until you learn to love yourself.  And beyond that, Valentine's Day is the perfect day to acknowledge and be grateful for all the loved ones in your life, even if you have not yet found your forever person. For those of you that are fortunate enough to have a special someone to celebrate the day with, I urge you to share with each other your expectations for celebrating the day together.  Don't assume that the other person can read your mind or that some spending limit you have in mind is simply understood without actually being spoken.  Do you want to go out or stay in?  Do you want flowers and chocolates, or do you prefer something else?  Have an open discussion about your needs and wants, this way you're sure not to be disappointed. Whatever you decide to do I hope it brings you joy, and that beyond Valentine's Day you continue to make an effort to allow past disappointments to fade while you nurture those relationships that help love find its way into your heart. By Regina A. DeMeo

Go to Top