Articles Posted in Division of Property

Family-owned businesses are a staple of the American commercial landscape. Many of these businesses are passed down across multiple generations. Sometimes, though, the family business in question is your spouse’s, not yours. When that happens and you’re divorcing, some or all of that business may be a marital asset subject to equitable distribution. Getting a truly just outcome in that scenario means getting a proper determination of both the business’s status (as marital) and its value. A skilled Maryland divorce lawyer can help go about obtaining that just and appropriate outcome.

A recent example of this kind of divorce case comes to us from Baltimore County. The husband’s parents were successful businesspeople, having run a seafood market and restaurant west of Baltimore since 1963.

The husband and wife married in 2004. In 2005, the husband (“Eric”) and his father (“Bill”) formed a corporation to operate the market and restaurant. Initially, Eric owned 25% of the shares and Bill owned 75%. In January 2006, Bill transferred his shares to Eric and Eric’s sister. That left Eric with 75% ownership and the sister with 25%.

Continue reading

“Lawyers often joke that we went to law school because we aren’t good at or don’t like math,” quipped a Maryland Court of Special Appeals judge recently. In a similar vein, a student in a law school seminar once interrupted the instructor who was laying out a math-intensive hypothetical. “Pardon me, Professor, but… we don’t do math. If we did, we wouldn’t be here.” Similar to the Court of Special Appeals Judge’s observation, the student was implying that he and his classmates arrived at law school rather than medical school or engineering school solely as a result of their poor math skills or strong dislike of math. In seriousness, though, math and law can — and do — intersect frequently, especially in divorce cases involving the division of marital assets. When you are in a divorce case where that is a significant issue, your outcome can often be enhanced by having on your side a skilled Maryland divorce lawyer (who may or may not love math.)

The case that spawned the Court of Special Appeals’ observation about math was a recent divorce dispute about retirement assets. The judgment in that divorce action stated that the “parties shall equalize their retirement assets.” To do that, the court instructed the wife to roll over $303,388 from her retirement to the husband’s retirement.

The problem was, as the appeals court put it, “something didn’t add up,” and fortunately for the wife, her legal team spotted it and argued it in her motion to enforce the judgment. Specifically, the wife’s counsel found the presence of a typographical error and deduced that a transfer of $303,388 would not equalize the spouses’ assets. To achieve an equal split, the wife argued, the correct sum should have been $40,000 less, or $263,388.

Continue reading

In many walks of life, people say that “timing is everything.” In civil lawsuits, timing isn’t everything but it definitely is a very important thing. That’s especially true in divorce cases. When it comes to things like alimony and monetary awards, the date used for evaluating the spouse’s assets is key. Sometimes, even just a difference of only a few months can alter the outcome by thousands of dollars. As with any essential detail of your divorce case, a knowledgeable Maryland divorce lawyer can help you identify the correct date and, in the process, get you a fair outcome.

Maryland law requires a trial court, before imposing a monetary award as part of a divorce, to engage in the three steps. First, the judge must identify what property is the husband’s, what is the wife’s, and what is marital. Second, the trial court must decide the value of the marital property. Finally, if the judge determines that simply dividing the marital assets “according to title” would yield an unfair result, then the judge adds a monetary award to the spouse who received the lesser group of titled marital assets.

In S.L. and T.L.’s divorce case, the trial court in Prince George’s County went through all those required processes. The court determined that, of the couple’s $1.24 million in assets, $553,000 was titled in the husband’s name, $86,000 was in the wife’s name, and $602,000 was titled in the spouses’ names jointly. After subtracting the couple’s marital debt, the judge ultimately awarded the wife a monetary award of $50,000.

Continue reading

Here in Maryland, a prenuptial agreement can be a very beneficial thing for both you and your future spouse. Some people consider a prenuptial agreement to be the cynical ploy of someone who’s already planning a divorce before the wedding has even occurred, but that is rarely the reality. A well-written and fairly negotiated prenuptial agreement can give you confidence that you and your spouse will be in control, rather than a court, if the marriage eventually ends. Making sure that both you and your spouse are working with knowledgeable Maryland prenuptial agreement lawyers can go a long way in ensuring you get something that is fair, mutually agreeable, and largely safe from a subsequent legal attack.

Prenuptial agreements have been in the news a lot lately. In December, music mogul Dr. Dre finalized his divorce. During that litigation, the hip-hop icon sought to enforce a prenuptial agreement. The wife strongly opposed, arguing that she signed the agreement under duress.

Four months earlier, another celebrity prenuptial agreement dispute came to a close. Singer and talk-show host Kelly Clarkson successfully argued for the enforcement of the prenuptial agreement that she and her husband signed. News reports generally did not indicate why the husband thought the prenup was invalid.

Proper recordkeeping is a must when it comes to preparing tax returns, but it’s not the only place where good recordkeeping can be incredibly valuable. Divorce is another legal area where the difference between success and failure could be your good records, or a lack thereof. Good records may be the critical evidence you need to substantiate your position. On the flip side, if your spouse is making a financial argument that isn’t supported by appropriate documentation, you may, with the help of a knowledgeable Maryland divorce lawyer, be able to use that lack of paperwork to defeat their argument.

You can see that in action in a recent divorce case from Montgomery County.

The husband married his wife in Bangladesh in 2011 and brought her to the United States, where he’d lived since 1998. In 2019, the couple split up and, a year later, the wife filed for divorce. At the time that the wife filed for divorce, the husband had nearly $219,000 in a Bank of America account. Four weeks later, that account balance was just under $11,000.

Continue reading

You’ve probably heard the phrase “timing is everything.” In your divorce, timing isn’t everything, but definitely can be a crucial thing. If you wait too long to take action, that inaction could have massive negative implications for you. Don’t let it happen to you. Instead, once you’re served notice of your spouse’s divorce filing, reach out and retain a skilled Maryland divorce lawyer, who can help you make sure you’re taking the right actions at the right times.

A recent Washington County contested divorce is an example of what can happen when you wait too long to act. The wife filed and properly served notice of the divorce to the husband, but the husband never submitted a responsive filing with the court.

The court sent the husband a “notice of default” and scheduled a hearing. The husband still did nothing and so the court issued a divorce judgment in the husband’s absence.

Continue reading

Marriages, especially those entered into by spouses with pre-established careers, can lead to complex divorces when they break down. These kinds of divorces arise when a spouse entered the marriage with substantial non-marital assets, but then also continued to grow their wealth during the course of the marriage. When a marriage like that ends in divorce, it is critical, in order to get everything you deserve, to obtain a judgment that accurately identifies what’s a marital asset and what’s non-marital. A skilled Maryland divorce lawyer can be essential to getting this done right.

The marriage of a businessman and a social worker from Montgomery County was an example of this kind of union. The marriage lasted just two years before irretrievably breaking down.

Much of the divorce litigation centered on the husband’s 401(k) plan. Before the pair wed, the husband worked for a very large bank and had a 401(k) through his employer. Shortly after he and the wife married, the husband rolled that 401(k) over into another account.

Continue reading

In music and other popular media, there is the stereotype of the deceitful spouse who, during the pendency of the couple’s divorce, empties the couple’s bank accounts and absconds with the funds. That stereotype exists because that sort of malfeasance does happen sometimes. If it has happened to you, or if you have been wrongfully accused of engaging in this type of misconduct, you need a knowledgeable Maryland divorce lawyer going to bat for you.

One Baltimore County couple had a $100,000 dispute of this type in their divorce case. The husband had withdrawn $100,000 from certain marital accounts. The wife said that the husband had impermissibly dissipated the funds, while the husband said that the withdrawals were related to the legal fees he’d amassed in the divorce litigation.

At the outset, it’s important to recognize a few things. One, in Maryland, dissipation of assets occurs when one spouse wastes, spends, or sells a marital asset for reasons not related to the marriage or to reduce the amount his/her spouse will get in the final divorce judgment’s property award.

Continue reading

When the court orders you to do something as part of your divorce, the best plan of action is to do as the order demands. Sometimes, though, questions may still remain regarding whether or not you’ve complied with the order. If you haven’t, the possibility of being found in contempt of court arises. Be aware, though, that there are special rules that govern when a judge can and cannot find you in contempt and, if the judge has not followed the proper procedures, you can, with the help of a skilled Maryland divorce lawyer, get that contempt finding tossed out.

A lot of times, when a couple with children goes through a divorce, child-related issues are at the forefront. Sometimes, though, that is not the case. Sometimes, items of property are the things about which the spouses contest most heavily.

Those issues can become heated, especially if the items in dispute are rare or unique. A recent Baltimore County divorce case is a good example of this. The couple was the parents of two boys, but the children were not what produced the most litigation. Rather, five items of personal property were.

Continue reading

There are several factual scenarios that potentially can complicate your divorce. One of these is when you and your spouse separate (and remain that way) for decades before seeking a divorce. Another is when one spouse in a long-separated-but-not-divorced couple comes into significant wealth. These are but two examples among the many. Almost any divorce has its unique elements that can pose challenges, though, which is why it is well worth your time and effort to retain a skilled Maryland divorce lawyer to represent you in your case.

In the United States, late November is a special time to reflect and be thankful for the good things in our lives. Those sources of gratefulness could be everything from finding a new love to continued good health to… winning the lottery.

The joy that can come from “striking it rich” may be lessened, though, if you have an estranged spouse in your life. That was the scenario on the mind of one wife who wrote to the publication The Penny Hoarder recently. The wife left her husband in 1990, but the two never divorced, according to her letter. In recent months, the wife received information that her estranged husband may have won a large lottery prize, and her letter to the publication centered on her options for getting a portion of those lottery winnings.

Continue reading

Contact Information