While considering divorce, there are many things that you need to be aware of. This includes how the courts determine things such as division of property, spousal support, child support and custody.
Division of Property
All properties acquired by one spouse or by a couple during their marriage is considered marital property. However, any property acquired by a spouse before the marriage, property acquired through inheritance or as a gift, and property that is validly excluded in an agreement are not considered part of a couple’s marital property. Any real estate property under both names, regardless of ownership before the marriage, is considered marital property. The awarding of alimony does not preclude the court from granting a ruling of property division or distribution.
It is important to note that the court has no power to change the title to property, but retains power or jurisdiction over the marital home and retirement funds and pensions. Also, the court can adjust or modify the spouses’ rights through the granting of monetary awards. The amount of and the type of award is determined by several factors. First, the court takes a detailed account of the marital property, its valuation, and the ownership of each piece or parcel of property.
The court also fairly considers how to balance the equities in the marital property and will then determine whether or not to make a monetary award and for how much. Any party who has significant or considerable retirement funds or pensions should consult a lawyer who is adept and well practiced in foreseeing the preparation of all necessary documentation and paperwork.
Supporting a spouse requires one to pay for alimony or spousal support. In Maryland, the law states the right of each spouse to seek alimony from each other. To determine the amount of alimony, the court will consider several factors. The court will take a look at each party’s financial needs and resources (income and assets), their financial obligations and responsibilities, lifestyle, age, health status, and the facts and details that led to a divorce.
Terms of alimony agreed upon by the parties involved and committed to writing is enforceable, unless the agreement was obtained by use of force or duress, fraud, abuse of a relationship that is deemed confidential.
Custody of the children is awarded with emphasis and utmost consideration of the well-being of the children. The granting of physical custody to one spouse will generally result in granting visitation rights to the other party. Legal custody or the right to make major decisions for the welfare of children can be granted solely to one parent or to both jointly.
During the entire process of divorce, courts have always put the best interests of the children first. Divorcing couples are responsible for the welfare of the children. Guidelines are utilized to determine the amount of child support, taking into consideration the gross income of each parent and the number of overnights a child will spend with each parent annually.
Courts also take into account the costs of child care and insurance most suitable to a child. Parties who reached an agreement on the terms regarding child support and who have committed the agreement in writing will be responsible to adhere to and follow the terms detailed in the agreement, unless the agreement was obtained with the use of force or duress and fraud. The court has the right to adjust or modify the terms put into writing in case they find a fair reason to do so if it will be for the benefit of the children. Also, any written agreement must adhere to the guidelines determining child support.
If you have any questions regarding your Maryland divorce, give us a call today so we can help you keep the process moving while getting started on your new life.