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Final Divorce Without the 12-Month Separation? It’s Possible Now

Final Divorce Without the 12-Month Separation? It’s Possible NowBig changes have come to the mutual consent divorce laws in Maryland. A new law, which takes effect October 1, 2018, will allow parents of minor children to file for a mutual consent divorce without the previously mandated one-year separation. Mutual consent divorce is not a brand-new concept in Maryland. In 2015, it became possible for couples without children to obtain an absolute (final) divorce without being separated for a year, as long as they had a written final separation agreement. The new rule makes it possible for couples with minor children to do the same. The new rules will make it much simpler for couples to obtain a “no-fault” divorce, removing the lengthy and costly year-long separation process that previously forced both parties to maintain completely separate residences and finances, while remaining in the State of Maryland. Couples now have much more flexibility to come to a mutual agreement…

Understanding the different types of separation

Maryland residents who might be having marital problems may be interested in how separation. Unlike divorce, a couple that is legally separated is still married, but a number of issues that are common in divorce proceedings might also be discussed in separation orders. Such things as property division, child custody and maintenance, and support obligations might all be included in separation proceedings. There are also a number of different types of arrangements beyond legal separation and divorce. For example, some couples might opt for permanent separation. Under this arrangement, debts or assets accumulated by the married individuals may be considered separate property when a divorce occurs. Other couples might also choose to live separately. These arrangements may be common in jurisdictions that require a separation period before a couple might file for a no-fault divorce. In some cases, a couple might opt to engage in a trial separation. This type…

Valuation and division of business assets difficult in divorce

For Maryland business owners, the end of a marriage can bring significant damage to the structure of a business. Some savvy entrepreneurs will have drafted prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that address the manner in which the valuation and division of business assets should take place in the event of a divorce. However, many business owners did not foresee the end of their marriage, and did not envision a scenario in which they could lose a portion of what they worked so hard to build. Absent a marital contract, business assets are subject to the same process of division as any other form of marital assets. This means that both spouses will share in the divided value of the business, regardless of how much or how little either party contributed to the success of the venture. The first step of that process is placing a monetary value on the business. In…

Division of pension plans and retirement accounts via a QDRO

Many Maryland couples know that one of the trickiest assets to split in a divorce is a pension plan or retirement account. Because of issues such as the tax-deferred nature of these accounts, there are specific rules that have to be followed in the division of pension plans and retirement accounts. Many companies will require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) in order to make the necessary changes. This legal documents gives the pension plan or retirement account the ability and instructions to make the necessary transfers without anyone owing taxes or penalties on it. If these transfers are done incorrectly, they can cost both parties a significant amount of money. QDROs are normally used to make transfers for employment based retirement and pension plans after a divorce. A QDRO is not required to make a transfer when the account is a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, but may…

Coping with legal separation or divorce

We all have our coping mechanisms for difficult times. Sometimes those means of dealing with our troubles are rooted in beneficial behaviors and sometimes they are not. For one Maryland lawmaker, his means of coping with the difficulties of his divorce lead to an increase in excessive drinking and a boating accident that injured several people. Delegate Dwyer says that his drinking began to increase toward the end of last year's General Assembly session when his wife and he separated and then legislation he had long worked on failed due to what he feels was a betrayal by his colleagues. While one perceived betrayal would be enough to make many seek solace in a bottle, it appears that the double whammy of the divorce and failed legislation took its toll on the lawmaker. Delegate Dwyer claims that he has since gotten treatment and no longer drinks. While going through a…