Things You Can Do To Prepare For Divorce
We understand that divorce is stressful and emotionally taxing. But if you follow the advice in this article, you can prepare for your divorce and make it go more smoothly. If you have questions about an impending divorce, our divorce lawyer in Maryland at Shah & Kishore can answer them today.
Pending Changes in Maryland’s Divorce Laws
A meaningful way to prepare for divorce in Maryland is to grasp the significant changes to the law that will be finalized and go into effect after Oct. 1, 2023. This new legislation repeals the part of the law that allows a party to get a limited divorce. It also changes the grounds for absolute divorce in Maryland.
Before the new legislation, the state recognized limited divorces and absolute divorces. A limited divorce allows you to obtain temporary relief through the court system prior to being eligible for filing and being granted an absolute divorce. Granting a limited divorce does not terminate the marriage, and remarriage is not allowed. However, the new legislation repeals the ability to get a limited divorce, leaving an individual the only option to file an absolute divorce.
The new divorce laws that will be implemented after October 1st of this year will bring considerable changes to the various grounds for an absolute divorce an individual can seek through the court system in Maryland. Before the new law, individuals could get an absolute divorce because of the following:
- Conviction of a misdemeanor or felony with jail or prison time
- 12-month separation
- Cruelty of treatment
These grounds have been repealed as of Oct. 1 and were replaced with the following:
- Six-month separation if the couple has lived separate and apart for six months without interruption before filing the divorce application. Separate and apart applies even if they live under the same roof.
- Irreconcilable differences based on reasons stated in the complaint for the permanent termination of the union. The bill states that a couple who has pursued separate lives must have lived separately for the six-month separation, even if they reside under the same roof.
It may be easier to get divorced under the new law because the timeframe has been lessened. Also, parties can stay under the same roof while waiting for the six-month separation time to lapse.
If you have questions about the new law’s impact, a Maryland divorce attorney at Shah & Kishore can address them. Now that you understand the impact of the new law, below are some other ways to prepare for divorce:
Consider Resolving The Divorce With Limited Court Involvement
Ask yourself if you and your spouse can resolve divorce-related conflicts with minimal court involvement. The most contentious issues in most divorces are alimony, property and debt division, child support, and custody.
If you and the other party agree, you may be able to divorce in a less contentious manner with an uncontested divorce. If you cannot reach a final agreement but are close, a mediator could assist you in reaching the finish line. A third-party, neutral mediator is often an excellent choice to assist you in finalizing a comprehensive Marital Settlement Agreement.
If You Have Children, Prepare A Parenting Agreement
Parents with young children have a lot to consider during a divorce. Here are some ways to prepare for this part of the divorce:
- Make a parenting plan: You and your spouse should sketch a draft custody plan that includes each party’s visitation with the kids, school break and holiday schedules, etc.
- Make a calendar: Devise a calendar to track each child’s time with the other parent. The calendar should detail communication issues, transportation arrangements, expenses paid, and canceled visits.
- Understand child support: Will you need to receive or pay child support after the divorce? If you require child support during the divorce, and your spouse refuses to pay, ask the court for a pendente lite hearing where you can request pendente lite child support. This is temporary child support while the divorce is pending.
Gather Marriage And Financial Documents
Create a documents file by collecting marriage-related paperwork. These documents may include prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, estate planning documents, wills, living wills, powers of attorney, and advance healthcare directives.
Next, find your marriage license and put it in a secure location. You also should have a financial documents folder containing the following:
Create a list of joint assets, such as bank accounts, credit card debts, medical bills, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, vehicles, etc. Courts require both parties to make full financial disclosures. Collect as much financial information as you can to speed up the process later.
Search for documents showing joint debts, such as mortgage(s), car loan(s), student loan(s), and retirement plan loan(s).
Collect everything you can regarding pension and retirement accounts that either party accrued during the marriage.
If you can access the other party’s W-2s and other pay information, make copies and give them to your lawyer.
Find copies of joint tax returns for at least the last five years.
Separate Your Life From Your Spouse
Starting your own life after divorce comes with a significant to-do list. Here are some of the most critical parts:
- Protect your credit: Divorce can damage your credit, so consider opening a new credit card in your name. If you have joint credit cards, you should resolve those debts with your spouse and close them.
- Set up a bank account: If the two of you have joint bank accounts, go to your bank and set up an account solely in your name. Having a bank account in your name will help you track your finances in a more systematic and efficient manner.
- Protect your private information: Obtain a new, secure email address. Change passwords to critical accounts you have used before. It is also ideal to change passwords to your social media accounts.
Contact Our Divorce Lawyer In Maryland Today
If you are getting divorced in Maryland, an experienced attorney can make the process progress more smoothly. Contact our divorce lawyer in Maryland at Shah & Kishore to obtain assistance at (301) 315-0001 today. Our attorneys are tough litigators who will use their extensive divorce and Maryland family law knowledge to advocate for your best interests.