Articles Posted in Division of Property

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.

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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.

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When, it comes to marriages, relationships, and divorces, some issues and situations are universal, as a recent divorce case from overseas demonstrates. Even though this court case came from India, much of the circumstances involved could easily have happened in Maryland. While those marital scenarios and pitfalls may be largely universal, the law definitely is not. The distinctions and differences between the law of one place versus another are a crucial reason why having an experienced Maryland divorce attorney on your side is essential when you are seeking to end your marriage in this state.

The Indian case, reported by CNBC TV18, involved a marriage that reportedly was troubled nearly from the start. The spouses became estranged “within a few months of marriage,” then one of the spouses met someone new and that pair began “staying together in a live-in relationship,” according to the report.

The new couple had many questions. Could they continue living together while the divorce was pending? Could they get married before the divorce judgment was finalized? According to Indian law, this Indian couple could continue living together, but they could not get married before the finalization of the divorce without placing the married partner in potential legal peril for bigamy.

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Failing to obtain experienced legal counsel is often a mistake in a divorce case, even if you and your spouse are seeking to resolve the matter by agreement. That’s especially true if your spouse has retained an attorney. Your skilled Maryland divorce lawyer can help you assess whether or not the agreement proposed to you is genuinely fair to you, and whether or not a judge might award you significantly more if you litigated the matter. Your attorney can also help you identify harmful provisions in the agreement that might be unenforceable under either Maryland family law or Maryland contract law.

Proceeding on your own, especially if your spouse has legal representation, can expose you to serious risks. Take, as an example, the divorce case of C.G. and K.G., a Maryland couple with no children who decided to end their decade-long marriage in 2018.

By early 2019, the couple had mutually worked out a marital settlement that divided their property.

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One of the biggest questions a divorcing couple in Maryland may face is “who gets the house?” Depending on the specific facts of your divorce and the ability of you and your spouse to reach mutual agreements about your marital property, the answer may be “neither of you.” Whether you end up resolving the question of property distribution through agreement or through litigation, you need someone who is keenly familiar with Maryland law, so make sure you have a knowledgeable Maryland divorce lawyer representing you throughout the process.

Take, for example, this divorce case from Charles County. The husband and wife were a couple who ran a working farm that produced naturally raised meats and local raw honey. The success of the farm, regrettably, outlasted that of the marriage, and the wife filed for divorce in 2015.

The spouses could not agree regarding how to distribute much of their marital property, including the marital home. Frequently, when the spouses cannot agree, the court will (as this judge did) appoint a trustee, who is a neutral third-party individual charged with selling the marital properties and then distributing the proceeds of those sales.

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In many walks of life, it is said that “timing is everything.” In the law, timing isn’t everything, but it definitely can be a crucial thing. Get your timing wrong in carrying out some procedural step in your case and that incorrect timing may have disastrous consequences. This is just another one (among the countless) reasons why, when your divorce is going through the legal process, you need a skilled Maryland divorce lawyer from beginning to end.

As a cautionary tale of what can go wrong when your timing is not correct, there’s this recent divorce case that originated in Prince George’s County. The couple litigated their divorce in 2020 and, on Jan. 7, 2021, the judge granted an absolute divorce. The divorce judgment also covered the marital home (ordering the wife to transfer her interest to the husband,) child custody, and child support.

The judgment did not, however, say how much child support the wife was required to pay the husband each month.

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For many Marylanders going through a divorce, resolving issues through a separation agreement may seem like a good idea and, indeed, it very often is. It is not enough, though, simply to create an agreement; you need to be sure the agreement you get is the right agreement for you, and you need to be sure you are positioned to receive the benefits of the terms you negotiated. To do all of these things, you need an experienced Maryland divorce lawyer by your side every step of the way.

Cases from the courts in this state clearly highlight how, even after you’ve negotiated and executed a good agreement, your work may not yet be done. Take a look at this real-life divorce dispute from Baltimore County. The husband, an equine veterinarian, and the wife, a horseback riding instructor/polo coach, owned a farm in Freeland. When the horse-loving couple divorced, they executed a “Separation and Property Settlement Agreement,” which established several terms to which the spouses agreed.

Concerning the distribution of the farm they jointly owned, the contract set out four possible options, in order: (1) the wife buys out the husband, (2) if the wife declines, the husband could buy out the wife’s interest, (3) if both spouses decline, then the property could be sold by a real estate agent, or (4) the farm would be sold via a judicial sale.

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Some people may convince themselves that they do not need a skilled Maryland divorce lawyer to handle their case. They may assume that, because they and their spouse do not dispute most issues, or because they do not have many assets, or because their case does not seem to involve anything that implicates complex issues of law, they can handle it themselves. That kind of thinking is something that you should avoid, as it could be incredibly costly to you. Some divorcing spouses think they can’t afford to hire an attorney. More likely, you can’t afford not to.

Here’s a real-life example of how it can go wrong. In June 2019, V. M.-J. filed for divorce. The case went to trial that November and the spouses didn’t have attorneys. The court’s judgment gave the husband 15% of the wife’s government pension and ordered the wife to transfer her interest in the home to the husband, conditioned on his refinancing the home solely in his own name within 90 days.

Dissatisfied with the outcome, the wife appealed. Her appellate argument was that the trial judge made a mistake in distributing the home and her pension because the husband did not file any court pleadings asking for these things.

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If you read enough appeals court decisions (and who doesn’t, right?) you’ll eventually come across the phrase ”abuse of discretion.” This generally means that an appeals court is bound to uphold what a trial court decided unless the trial judge committed some sort of blatant error. What you can take away from this quick lesson in “legalese” is that it is often very difficult to get a trial court’s judgment overturned on appeal. That’s why it pays to have a skilled Maryland divorce lawyer by your side from the very start, making sure your presentation to the trial court is the strongest it can be.

A recent divorce case from Montgomery County is a good example of what we mean. B.N. and his brother bought a home in Silver Spring in September 1997. Four years later, the brother deeded his interest in the home to B.N., making B.N. the sole owner.

One day later, B.N. married S.F. At the time the spouses married, the home had a value of $245,000 with $74,000 in equity.

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Lawyers, of course, keep up with new rulings from the courts all the time to make certain they are up-to-date on the law in the areas where they practice. That’s important because, when you are working with the right Maryland divorce attorney, you have the benefit of a legal advocate who possesses a thorough, complete, and up-to-date knowledge of the law in this state.

Many court rulings, however, also have information that can be really useful for most anyone facing a particular circumstance, like going through a divorce. Take, as an example, this divorce case from Baltimore.

The wife filed for divorce in 2019 after 17 years of marriage. Each spouse accused the other of financial misconduct.

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