A Maryland Attorney
TYPES OF DIVORCE There are two types of divorce available in Maryland, (1) limited divorce and (2) and absolute divorce. A limited divorce does not terminate the marriage. You remain married, but are legally separated. You can not remarry. Often times a limited divorce is used when a spouse wants an alimony award, but does not want a divorce. People usually do not get a limited divorce. An absolute divorce ends the marriage completely. Once a person is granted an absolute divorce he is free to remarry, and the former spouse has no claims to the other’s property. To be eligible for an absolute divorce, certain circumstances must exist. These circumstances are called “grounds for divorce”. The most common “ground for divorce” is a “one year separation”. A “one year separation” means the parties have lived separate and apart for more than one year, without sleeping in the same home and without engaging in any sexual relations. If you are interested in pursuing an absolute divorce, and would like a free 15 minute consultation, please call our office to make the arrangements.
PROPERTY ISSUESThe time to divide property acquired during the marriage is before a divorce is granted. Ninety days after the divorce is granted the court no longer has any authority over the property acquired during the marriage. After the divorce, ownership of the property is determined by the title to the property. Therefore, it is very important that you and you spouse resolve all property issues before proceeding with a divorce. Property includes land, houses, money, pensions and retirement benefits, IRAs, money market funds. Property includes almost anything, with and without value. It is important to understand that property acquired during the marriage is marital property. Each spouse has an interest in the property acquired during the marriage – no matter how it was titled. The only exception to this rule is that marital property does not include property that was acquired by gift or inheritance, or property that can be traced to those sources.If you are contemplating a divorce and would like to discuss your concerns regarding property, please feel free to schedule a consultation. The first 15 minutes of the consultation will be free.
RETIREMENT FUNDS AND DIVORCE:There are two ways in the state of Maryland in which a spouse may claim an interest in a spouse’s retirement fund. In Maryland, retirement funds and savings are marital property if acquired during the marriage. A spouse has the right to make a claim against the other spouse’s retirement funds and interests. If a spouse makes a claim against the other’s retirement interests, the court the authority to assign and interest in retirement, pension and deferred compensation plans in divorce proceedings; however, they are not required to do so. Further, the court also has the discretion of how much to award and when payments will be received. The court will not necessarily divide the marital portion of the pension equally. Most importantly, the division of pension benefits occurs through a “qualified domestic relations order” (QDRO). The QDRO must conform to the rules of the pension or retirement plan that the QDRO refers to. The rules governing division of retirement benefits differ from plan to plan. If you are uncertain what whether you should pursue a division of pension and retirement benefits, and would like to discuss the various options, please feel free to give us a call. Our firm offers free 15 minute telephone consultations for divorce and custody cases in Maryland. Call us at (301) 515 - 1191.
DOCUMENTS YOU WILL NEED TO FILE A DIVORCE:When you are faced with the prospect of divorce whether you are the one requesting the divorce or you are the one who is being left, it is best to prepare yourself as soon as possible. Everyone would like to believe that things will flow smoothly, property will be divided fairly, custody will be fair, and no one will try to take advantage of each other. However, the truth, more often than not is that, things do not go smoothly, and in the end one or both parties will end up seeking the advice of an attorney. Therefore, it is best as soon as the topic of divorce has been mentioned to gather all the information and documentation you will need to make sure everything you are entitled to you will receive. You will be surprise how documents may suddenly disappear once the word “divorce” is mentioned. In a divorce case, evidence is needed to support your case, and evidence requires proof. Proof in a legal case requires hard evidence. These are some of the documents the court may require you to produce in order to validate your claim: - Real Estate Papers - Savings and Checking Accounts- Income Documents- Pension Accounts- Credit Card Accounts- Photographs, Letters, and Emails- Automobiles- Expenses If you have questions regarding these documents or any other divorce matters, give our office a call at (301) 515 - 1191.
DIVORCE TIP 1:Be realistic – know what you want but be prepared to give in return. Divorce is a process of give and take. This means you may have to give in order to receive. When it comes to property division you may negotiate which property you want to keep. The most effective approach to a successful divorce is to be fair to your spouse, no matter how stressful or difficult that may be. Whenever you are dealing with divorce and negotiation the key is to be calm and reasonable. If you feel you are being taken advantage, tell your divorce lawyer. Don’t have one? You may be at a serious disadvantage if your spouse has a divorce lawyer and you do not. Protect your rights, our firm offers free consultations for divorce cases in Maryland.
DIVORCE TIP 2:Protect your credit historyThe time period preceding the divorce may very well be one of the most stressful periods in life. Many people do things to the other that they later regret. You are at risk of being the target of your spouse’s anger. You should go out of your way to avoid argument, and to protect yourself from attack. Always remember to close any joint bank accounts you have. This means checking accounts, credit cards, lines of credit, savings accounts, etc. All too often we see cases where the spouse forgot to close these accounts only to have them taken advantage of. Remember: as long as your spouse’s name is on the account they will have access to the funds. Closing these accounts promptly protects you and your credit history. If you feel you are being taken advantage, tell your divorce lawyer. Don’t have one? You may be at a serious disadvantage if your spouse has a divorce lawyer and you do not. Protect your rights, our firm offers free consultations for divorce cases in Maryland.
DIVORCE TIP 3:What to tell the children?Divorce can be very painful for a couple that planned to spend their entire lives together. However it can be much worse for the children involved. Special care must be used when divorce involves children. Speaking with your children can be very important. Make sure they know you love them very much and it is not their fault. It’s very common for children to believe they are somehow responsible for the divorce. Try and keep the specific issues or finger-pointing ‘bad talk’ away from the children. It is best if both you and your spouse agree on what the children will be told and how they will be told. To the extent possible, you should reach an agreement with your spouse regarding the schedule you will follow with the children. It is important that, to the extent possible, your children know where they will be and who they will be with. Children should be protected from any dispute between you and your spouse, they simply should not know that you are arguing, or what you are arguing about. If you are uncertain what custodial arrangement would work best for you and your children, and would like to discuss the various options, please feel free to give us a call. Our firm offers free 15 minute telephone consultations for divorce and custody cases in Maryland.
DIVORCE TIP 4:Consider family counseling If your children are having a hard time handling the life change you may want to consider counseling. Even if divorce is something that cannot be avoided, counseling can still help everyone get along after the divorce. Counseling can help with children that are unable to cope with the change. Counseling can help you be a better parent and give advice on how to handle other relationship problems. In most cases divorced couples will still see a lot of each other, especially when they have children in common. When looking for a counselor, make certain that the counselor has experience with divorce and child custody issues.
DIVORCE TIP 5:How does alimony work?When you enter a marriage both spouses have an obligation to support each other. In some cases this obligation may carry over after a divorce. Many factors may affect how much or how little alimony you receive. Some factors include the length of the marriage, why the marriage failed, income of each spouse and gender of the person applying for alimony. Alimony is always needs based. If one spouse has been out of the workplace for any extended time, the spouse’s ability to earn an income may be seriously diminished. In these cases rehabilitative alimony may be appropriate. After a divorce you will not necessarily receive alimony, it must be court ordered. Your spouse may agree to pay alimony. In the alternative, you can pursue an order of court demanding that your spouse pay alimony. If your spouse will not agree to pay alimony, and you pursue alimony through the courts, you must demonstrate that you are unable to support yourself in a reasonable manner. If you are uncertain what whether you should pursue alimony from your spouse, and would like to discuss the various options, please feel free to give us a call. Our firm offers free 15 minute telephone consultations for divorce and custody cases in Maryland.
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