Hecht & Associates handles a wide variety of divorce cases in Maryland, including military, same-sex, high-asset, and contested divorces. To learn more about how we can help you through this stressful time, call us today at 301-587-2099 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.
What is a nesting agreement in Maryland? How does it work?
Nesting is a type of agreement sometimes used to manage joint custody of the children during separation and divorce. This type of agreement allows the children to remain in the home, while the parents each visit for a set time each week.
This method of custody management keeps the children on a set schedule, and around their friends. It also prevents the parents from having to invest in a bed, clothing, toys, and other items for each home.
While a nesting agreement can help children transition during divorce, it is paramount to put this type of agreement in writing, and include details such as your separation date, the custody schedule, and how long this agreement lasts. Hecht & Associates can help with this type of agreement.
How does same-sex divorce work in Maryland?
Since the adoption of same-sex marriage laws in Maryland in 2013, the state has managed same-sex divorces in the same way as a traditional divorce filing.
There are, however, some complications that same-sex couples may face. For example, same-sex couples may face tax penalties when dividing assets such as pensions, 401k(s), or the marital home.
Hecht & Associates has experience navigating these stressful issues, and achieve positive results for our clients.
What is a high-asset divorce?
When partners with a large net worth file for divorce, they become involved in a high-asset divorce. Separating assets with a high net worth is often more difficult, and often leads to additional conflict or disagreement than in your typical divorce.
This is especially true when one partner earned the majority of the income while the other stayed home to care for children or keep the house. These cases often require expert testimony from forensic accountants, appraisers, and other professionals.
How does the court value assets in a high-asset divorce?
Before the court can analyze assets and determine how to equitably distribute them, it is necessary to have an expert appraise them. First, the judge decides which assets qualify as marital property and which qualify as separate property. Then, appraisers and other valuation experts put a price on assets such as:
- The family home
- Vacation homes
- Real estate investments
- Retirement savings
- Stock market investments
- Pension plans
- Cars or other high-value vehicles
- Art collections
- Wine collections
- Other collectibles or investments
What factors affect asset distribution in a Maryland divorce?
Maryland law follows equitable distribution laws when it comes to dividing property. While equitable does not always mean equal, many divorcing partners usually end up with roughly half of the marital assets, including real property, pensions earned during the marriage, and other investments.
Factors the court considers when determining who receives which assets and how much include:
- Each partner’s role in the divorce
- Each person’s monetary and nonmonetary contributions to the family and home
- Each party’s health, age, and ability to earn a living
- Other resources available to each partner
What is the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce?
In an uncontested divorce, the partners agree on the separation and can come to a fair settlement on their own or through mediation. When one of the parties contests a divorce, however, this means they cannot reach an agreement. Usually, the disagreement centers on:
- The divorce itself
- How they should split the family assets
- Whether or not alimony is necessary
- Child custody
- Child support
What is the difference between a “typical” divorce and a military divorce?
While military divorces and typical divorces are more alike than they are different, there are some important differences between the two under Maryland law:
First, the law allows for the postponement of a divorce proceeding while an active military member is deployed, and for as long as two months after he or she returns home. If the divorce is uncontested, however, the law may allow the deployed partner to sign an affidavit instead of requiring in-person service of legal documents.
Second, the division of assets can sometimes be different in a military divorce. This is because federal law disallows division or distribution of military retirement unless the marriage lasted a decade or longer.
How and where do I file a divorce in Maryland?
Your divorce attorney files a Maryland divorce complaint with your county’s Circuit Court, depending on the county where you live. From there, the court generates documents called the complaint and the summons. Once a process server or sheriff serves your spouse with the papers, he or she has:
- 30 days to respond if your spouse lives in Maryland
- 60 days to respond if your spouse lives out-of-state
- 90 days if your spouse lives in another county
To learn more about this process — or to discuss specific concerns about your case — contact Hecht & Associates today.
Can I get a no-fault divorce in Maryland?
No-fault divorce is both possible and very common in Maryland. The laws outlining this process changed in 2011, making it easier to file on no-fault grounds. The only requirement to file for a no-fault divorce is that the couple must live apart in separate residences for a year or more prior to filing.
Fault grounds for a Maryland divorce include:
- Conviction of certain, mostly violent, crimes
- “Excessively vicious conduct”
What factors does a court consider when determining alimony?
The court considers a large number of factors when considering ordering alimony, especially in a high-asset divorce. These factors include:
- The partner’s ability to support themselves
- Their need for further education or job training
- The financial situation of each partner
- The current standard of living, and each partner’s ability to continue the current lifestyle
- How long the couple was married
- Each partner’s monetary and nonmonetary contributions to the family
- The circumstances surrounding the divorce filing
- The age of each partner
- The health and abilities of each partner
- Other assets granted to each party, including pensions, investments, etc.
Does self-sufficiency bar me from obtaining alimony?
Many people facing a high net worth divorce fear the court will bar them from receiving alimony if they contributed little monetarily to the family, and have the ability to earn their own income. Maryland courts, however, take nonmonetary contributions into account.
At the same time, when there is a gross disparity in income between divorcing partners, the court may decide to award indefinite alimony. This is because of an “unconscionable economic disparity” between the previous standard of living and the lifestyle the low-earning partner could afford post-divorce.
Call Hecht & Associates for help with your Maryland divorce: 301-587-2099.