Articles Posted in Divorce

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.

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California was the very first state in the U.S. to recognize “no-fault” divorce, doing so in 1970. Today, all states recognize no-fault divorce but some, including Maryland, give you the option of seeking a no-fault divorce or an at-fault divorce. Since Maryland allows both kinds of divorce actions, you may ask yourself, “Which one is better for me?” For answers to that and all other essential divorce questions, get in touch with a knowledgeable Maryland divorce lawyer who can assess your specific facts and give the advice you need for your specific situations.

For the last eight years, fans of reality TV on the TLC network have followed the relationships of dozens of couples on “90 Day Fiance.” While viewers presumably hope for true love for each of the lovebird pairs, not all the couples’ stories end with a “happily ever after.” Indeed, one of the “90 Day Fiance” couples is currently going through the divorce process here in Maryland.

The pair appeared on the show in 2015 when the husband was 58 and the wife was 19. Six years later, the husband filed for divorce, asserting that the wife committed adultery.

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For many couples, separation agreements are very useful tools. If you go that route, it’s important to make sure that your separation agreement is sufficiently detailed in all areas. For example, with alimony, it’s not enough to say “how much” and “for how long,” but also to address things like “when may the supporting spouse seek modification?” An experienced Maryland divorce lawyer can help you with negotiating and executing an agreement that is fair, complete, and clear.

Of course, even once you’ve done that, there may be pitfalls. For example, what happens if your spouse, who owes you alimony, experiences a non-permanent downturn in his income? Often, a temporary dip in income is not enough to lead to a reduction in your alimony but it depends on the exact wording of your separation agreement. A knowledgeable legal advocate can be essential in protecting your right to receive alimony.

Take, for example, the alimony case of C.T., a successful anesthesiologist, and his wife, R.L. They separated in 2015 and, three years later, worked out a separation agreement. That document called for the husband to pay alimony of $6,000 per month for 47 months, and then pay a lesser sum for the next 88 months.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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