Divorce typically has substantial effects on personal finances. Not only will the spouses have to adjust to living on a single income, but they won’t have access to the same financial assets as before. The division of property is subject to Maryland divorce laws and factors that are unique to each individual case. For accurate legal guidance, it’s advisable to consult a divorce attorney serving Owings Mills .
What is marital property?
It’s a common misconception that marital property refers solely to property that is jointly owned by both spouses. In fact, marital property includes almost any property that was acquired during the marriage. This applies regardless of which spouse purchased the property or earned the wages. Marital property includes vehicles, furniture, artwork, real estate, stocks and bonds, bank accounts, and retirement accounts. There are a few exceptions to this rule. If one spouse receives an inheritance or property as a gift, it’s considered non-marital property. Property is also excluded if there is a valid, legal agreement that excludes it.
Is marital property divided 50/50?
Another common myth about property division in a divorce is that each spouse receives half of the marital assets. Maryland is an equitable distribution state, rather than a community property state. In an equitable distribution state, the court issues rulings on property division based on what would be fair for both parties. A fair result isn’t necessarily an equal distribution.
Can property be both marital and non-marital?
In certain cases, it’s possible for property to be marital and non-marital. One person might purchase a condo before the marriage, which would make the condo non-marital property. However, if marital assets are then used to pay the mortgage, the condo becomes partially marital and non-marital property.
Does the length of the marriage factor into property division?
The length of the marriage does not necessarily have a significant impact on property division, unless the marriage was short-lived. Short-term marriages do not generally give the spouses enough time to accrue significant marital property. In these situations, the goal of the court is generally to restore both individuals to their pre-marital financial situations. The spouses can expect to keep the property they each brought to the marriage, and fairly divide any assets acquired during the marriage.
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.
If you consult a personal injury lawyer in Owings Mills after you’ve been hurt in an accident, you may hear the term “negligence” frequently. As your accident lawyer can advise you, the legal concept of negligence can play an integral role in your claim. Your accident lawyer will need to prove that the other party acted in a negligent manner and that these negligent actions directly led to your injuries or other damages.
When you watch this video, you’ll hear a professional discuss the legal definition of negligence. She explains that a person is found to be negligent if he or she has acted in a manner that departs from the standard of conduct expected of a reasonable person acting in similar circumstances. For example, your accident lawyer may argue that the other driver was negligent because he or she failed to reduce the vehicle’s speed in unsafe weather.
Inform your attorney in Owings Mills if you plan to seek alimony, or spousal support, or if you suspect your spouse may seek alimony payments from you. Under family law, alimony is intended to maintain the standard of living for the parties after the divorce. When a judge awards alimony, it is typically restricted to a set period of time. However, indefinite alimony may be awarded in certain cases. When indefinite alimony is awarded, alimony laws still permit modification of the arrangement later on.
As your family lawyer can advise you, the court may award indefinite alimony if the party seeking payments cannot reasonably become self-supporting due to disability, illness, infirmity, or age. Even after the party seeking support makes reasonable progress toward becoming self-supported, indefinite alimony may be awarded if the separate standards of living of both parties are unconscionably disparate. Determining whether standards of living are unconscionably disparate is left to the discretion of the court.
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