Getting divorced in Maryland can be a very involved process. Some couples take months to divide their property and parental responsibilities. Others end up waiting even longer for hearings in court so that a judge can resolve matters like property division and custody arrangements.
Whether you hope to settle outside of court or anticipate litigating everything, you can begin to prepare for divorce even before you talk to your spouse about ending your marriage. What steps will help you prepare for a Maryland divorce?
Getting copies of important household financial records
It is common for spouses to file taxes together and share bank accounts. Your commingled financial circumstances can hide misconduct by your spouse and complicate property division. Going over your financial records is a major part of preparing for property division.
If you don’t already have copies, either physical or digital, of important financial paperwork like tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements and pay stubs, then you may want to track down and copy these important records. Spouses angry about a possible divorce might hide records or alter them to hide their own financial misconduct.
Learn the basics about state law
If you have a marital agreement with your spouse, then you already know what will happen with your property and your parents take time when you divorce. If you don’t have an agreement with your spouse, then you will need to negotiate one with them or go to court.
Understanding how equitable distribution works and the Maryland approach to custody, which focuses on what is best for the children, can help you plan for the divorce and set realistic goals.
Explore your support network
Do you have several weeks of unclaimed vacation time that you intend to utilize when you move out of your house or have court hearings? Do you have friends or family that can offer you short-term living arrangements? Your goals and current situation will influence what kind of support you need, but it’s important to plan for your practical needs before you talk to your spouse about divorce.
Preparing before you file for divorce can make dissolution a smoother process and potentially lead to a more favorable outcome for you.