by Val Anias, Esq.
No one enters a marriage thinking or wishing for it to end. But, it happens. Marriages end, homes are split, and the once unified family is now divided. Whether you’re the person seeking the divorce, the couple who mutually agree to divorce, or the person who has just been shockingly served, here’s what you need to know in Maryland.
Divorce doesn’t have to equate to a battle. Assuming you have agreed how to handle any joint property and you don’t have minor children, you can get a divorce in Maryland without having to wait for any specific time period. This type of divorce is by Mutual Consent. If you do have minor children and/or maybe you haven’t settled all your property issues, you still don’t have to engage in war. Maryland provides a voluntary divorce option for couples to divorce after a 12-month separation.
Unfortunately, divorce does tend to bring out the worst in couples. In a situation where there has been a loss of trust, loss of a partnership, and, critically, a loss of communication, you need to be prepared to take action. First, know what assets exist and the approximate value. This may include property, retirement, personal property, vehicles, etc. Second, know what type of debt exists and how much. This can be in the form of a mortgage, outstanding credit card, a car loan, etc. Be aware that, for purposes of the divorce in nearly all circumstances, any asset or debt is joint – regardless of how either is titled – if it was accrued during your marriage. Lastly, and most importantly, prepare. Prepare for your monthly expenses, prepare for your children, prepare for you. Create a budget and adjust accordingly. You cannot be certain how the Court is going to rule regarding alimony or a monetary award. You may be confident that you will be able to remain in your home but what if that’s not the case? Your spouse may have once promised to financially support you but now things have changed.
If it’s time for you to begin the divorce process and end this chapter of your life, get organized and be prepared. You may require the assistance of an experienced family law attorney and this preparation will only make for a more successful case. Just remember, this too shall pass and you are not alone.