You and your spouse have discussed divorce and want to make it as amicable as possible. There are better things to do with your money than pay it to lawyers.
When you hire a lawyer, you expect value for what you pay. Where do you begin? An initial meeting with a Maryland Divorce Attorney will allow you to develop a successful negotiating strategy.
“ Your lawyer can educate you on how the law will influence each of the issues that applies to you, your spouse and your family.
As the client, you are entitled to control how negotiations are approached. However, your lawyer needs to educate you on how Maryland Divorce law, will influence each of the issues that applies to you, your spouse and your family. The following is an overview of issues to consider:
Children: Who will have legal custody? Who will have physical custody? What is the schedule for each parent to spend time with the children?
Child Support: Who will provide health care for the children? What extraordinary expenses do the children have, such as orthodontic bills, therapy, medical care and education? The latter may include private school K-12 and/or college expenses. Child support will be determined based on Maryland child support guidelines. The schedule in the Maryland Family Law Article only covers combined incomes of $120,000.00. Many families in high income regions such as Howard County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, and Carroll County exceed this amount. Your attorney can help you anticipate how the Court is likely to use the guidelines to extrapolate an appropriate amount for higher income families. My prior posting discusses the fact that the Maryland General Assembly will be considering legislation to modify the state’s child support guidelines.
Family Home: What will become of the family home? I have previously posted comments about how the upside down real estate market has made decisions more difficult for divorcing couples.
Alimony: Is this a case for temporary or indefinite alimony? In the absence of alimony, what will the income of each party be and how will their standard of living compare?
Property Disposition: What property including retirement assets is owned by the parties? How is the property titled? Why was it titled in that manner? You might want to review my prior posting on Marital Property. Identify the property that is Marital Property. What is the value of the Marital Property? How is the Marital Property titled?
Closely Held Businesses: This is a special subset of Property Disposition issues. Often, valuation is the biggest challenge. You may refer to my previous post on this issue.
Pensions: Is either of the parties entitled to a pension? How will these pension benefits be allocated? This is another subset of Property Disposition issues; military, federal, state and local government pensions are included.