Divorce law is complex and is periodically redesigned. There are also plenty of misconceptions about divorce law, which further complicates matters. Your best source for accurate, up-to-date information is a family attorney in Owings Mills. Ahead of your initial consultation, write a list of your questions and concerns.
Myth: Assets listed under one spouse’s name are off-limits.
Your family lawyer may ask you to bring a complete list of assets to your consultation. This allows him or her to give you an estimate of how the judge will likely divide your property. One common misconception is that anything solely listed in the name of one spouse cannot be divided among both spouses. In fact, a Maryland court can order the redistribution of any marital asset. In other words, if a spouse purchased a truck during the marriage, it is considered a marital asset and it can be included in a marital property award.
Myth: Retirement assets cannot be divided.
Similarly, retirement assets are considered to be marital property if they were earned during the course of the marriage. This means that the court may redistribute a 401(k) pension plan, IRA, military pension plan, or other retirement assets.
Myth: Spouses can be separated, but live in the same house.
Maryland divorce law is among the strictest in the country. Before you can finalize a divorce, you and your spouse may be required to undergo a one-year separation. It’s often thought that spouses can legally be considered separated as long as they sleep in separate bedrooms. In most cases, spouses can only be considered separated if they maintain separate residences for 12 consecutive months. During this time, the spouses must also abstain from marital relations.
Myth: Legal separation is always required before an absolute divorce.
Maryland recently revamped its divorce laws to make it easier for some spouses to obtain an absolute divorce without enduring a 12-month separation. Spouses who do not share children in common and who work out a divorce settlement agreement that resolves all involved issues can be granted an absolute divorce much more quickly.
When you consult a family attorney in Owings Mills, one of the questions you will be asked is whether you plan to seek spousal support or alimony . If not, your divorce attorney will consider the likelihood that the court will order you to pay alimony to your soon-to-be ex-spouse. The court has broad discretion in deciding whether to award alimony. The judge will consider all relevant factors to establish a fair and equitable award.
It’s always best to consult a divorce attorney before making any agreements directly with your spouse or your spouse’s lawyer. If you sign any agreement regarding spousal support, the court is likely to be bound by the terms of that document. And after a divorce is finalized, you forfeit your right to seek alimony. For example, if you signed an agreement stating that you would not seek alimony and the court is bound by this agreement, you cannot request spousal support later on.
When considering whether to order alimony payments, the court is likely to consider marital factors such as the length of the marriage. There is generally a greater likelihood of awarding alimony if the marriage was substantial in duration. The court might also consider the circumstances that led to the breakdown of the marriage.
The financial resources of each spouse will be carefully considered in every alimony decision. The court will consider the assets and needs of each spouse. For instance, if one spouse demonstrates a need for spousal support, the judge will consider the ability of the other spouse to pay alimony. The standard of living that each spouse enjoyed during the marriage is another relevant factor. The judge can also consider the monetary contributions that each spouse made to the family during the marriage.
It is not uncommon for one spouse to demonstrate a poor earning history during the marriage if that spouse agreed to relocate or otherwise stop working for the sake of the career of the other spouse. Because of this and other factors, the judge will consider each spouse’s earning history in light of his or her earning capacity. In some cases, one spouse is awarded rehabilitative alimony, which is intended to provide for education or vocational training to improve the earning capacity of that spouse.
It isn’t easy to inform your spouse that you want a divorce , even if both of you can clearly see that the marriage is deteriorating. If you fear that your spouse will have a dangerous or violent reaction to the news, it’s best to have the discussion in a public place. You can also protect yourself by consulting a lawyer in Owings Mills ahead of time. Even if you do not fear that your spouse will have an intense reaction, you should take some time to prepare for the discussion.
Watch this featured video to get some practical tips on discussing divorce. It recommends writing out what you want to say in advance because this gives you an emotional outlet and allows you to clarify what you want to say. Avoid discussing the details of the divorce until you’ve had a chance to meet with your family lawyer. Try to avoid assigning blame for the divorce and allow your spouse plenty of time to respond.
Divorce law in Maryland is notoriously complex. In many cases, spouses must endure a lengthy legal separation before the divorce can be finalized. If you can prove fault-based grounds for absolute divorce; however, you may be able to forego the waiting period and move forward with your post-divorce life. If your marriage has deteriorated because your spouse has committed adultery, you should speak with a divorce lawyer near Owings Mills. You may be surprised to learn that proving adultery could be easier than you think.
You do not require definitive proof of adultery.
Many spouses assume that it is necessary to provide hard proof of their spouse’s adultery, such as pictures or videotapes. Although this is a possibility, it certainly isn’t necessary. Maryland divorce law does not require spouses to offer definitive proof that adultery existed. Circumstantial or indirect evidence is sufficient.
You do need to prove your spouse’s disposition of affection.
Maryland divorce law does require a spouse to demonstrate that the other spouse had a “disposition of affection” toward a third party. This simply means that the individual somehow displayed his or her affection toward someone who is not married to that individual. This could take the form of holding hands, kissing, hugging, or even suggestive dancing. For instance, a friend of yours may have witnessed your spouse behaving in an affectionate manner with someone else. The testimony of your friend, perhaps complemented by pictures, may be sufficient to prove your spouse’s disposition of affection.
You do need to prove that an opportunity for adultery existed.
In addition to proving your spouse’s affectionate behavior, you must prove that he or she had the opportunity to commit adultery. This opportunity has to be more conclusive than the mere fact that you weren’t in your spouse’s presence on a 24/7 basis. For instance, you might demonstrate that your spouse spent time in a hotel room with the other individual or was seen entering the residence of the other individual.
You could offer substantial proof if it exists.
Although conclusive proof is not required to prove adultery, it can certainly help your case. It’s important to be honest with your divorce lawyer about your suspicions of adultery. If you were diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD), this may be all that’s needed to prove adultery. If your spouse became pregnant and paternity tests prove that the child is not yours, this certainly proves adultery.
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