When you go through a divorce fear of the unknown becomes a big problem. No matter how hard you try to prepare yourself, outcomes are still uncertain and nerve-wracking. There is much uncertainty about everything from your financial instability to life changes and living arrangements.
All these unknowns can be scary, especially when it comes to dividing shared property and investments. You don't have to face this challenge alone. With the help of an experienced lawyer, both parties can make sure they get their fair share in the split.
In this article, we present common options for dividing your property, helping to ease your anxiety around the process.
Let the Courts Decide
If you aren’t sure how to handle your property in a divorce, you can leave it up to the court. A judge will assess the situation, attempting to reach a fair arrangement regarding finances and assets.
States typically use one of two methods to divide property in a divorce.
The first and most common system is called the “equitable” model. This is when the asset division considers the contributions of each spouse, current income of each party, and other factors such as the duration of the marriage. Equitable distribution’s primary goal is to ensure that both parties receive an appropriate share of all marital assets, regardless of who specifically purchased the item or whose name is on the lease.
The second system, used by far fewer states, is the “community property division” model. In it, both parties must equally divide all property and assets they acquired during the marriage. This includes income that either spouse earned, debts they incurred, and any assets they purchased. Community property law varies from state to state, but in most cases, both spouses are granted equal rights to all marital assets, regardless of who earned them.
Maryland uses the equitable division system.
You should note that court proceedings can be expensive and take a considerable amount of time. If possible, try to create an agreement between both parties that does not require court intervention.
Do It Yourself
You always have the right to make whatever agreements you wish and submit them to the court. This includes all aspects of a divorce such as child support and custody, spousal support, and property division.
One way to do this is through mediation. This is where a neutral, legal professional helps facilitate discussions and negotiations between you and your spouse.
Another option is to have a collaborative divorce. You can include multiple lawyers and even other professionals such as financial experts and child psychologists. Everyone works together to reach an agreement outside of court.
Remember to put any property division agreement you reach outside of court in writing, sign it, and submit it to the court. This will ensure its enforceability.
The thought of any major transition can be scary, but remember that no matter what lies ahead, you have the strength and resilience to make it through this difficult time.
Law Office of Nicholas T. Exarhakis is here to work with you and your spouse, helping you achieve fair, reasonable outcomes in your divorce. If necessary, we can also represent you in court. For a free consultation, call us today at (410) 593-0040 or contact us online.