DIVORCE AND MONEY IN MARYLAND

“Divorce and money concerns go hand in hand” is a refrain heard throughout the legal profession. It is difficult to separate the emotional side of divorce from the financial side. Can I support my family after the divorce? How will I survive on a reduced or limited income? Where will I live? These issues are difficult enough without the added turmoil of a divorce and/or custody proceeding. Competent and experienced counsel from the beginning of the process can help you understand and plan for these and other issues regarding future income and asset distribution.

Maryland is an “equitable distribution state” unlike what many know as a “community property state”. An equitable distribution essentially allows the court to divide the assets of the parties, including retirement accounts, in a manner that may not be 50-50%. In one Queen Anne’s County case I was involved in the court awarded a 30-70% split. This case was unusual, but it illustrates the court’s power of distribution.

Additionally, Maryland does not have a table to establish alimony payments either in terms of amount or time period. The court may use its sole discretion in awarding alimony based upon criteria set out in Maryland family law statues. This will include the age of the parties, income or potential income and reason for the breakup of the marriage.

Since Maryland courts have such discretion regarding your future economic wellbeing it is essential that you obtain competent and experienced counsel well versed in the intricacies of the law, the court’s views and previous court rulings. This is, quite frankly, no time to “wing it”.

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