As a business owner, important life decisions, for your separation or divorce, must be made to protect your finances, especially your business; plus your property, debts, children, and overall future. Having a divorce attorney like Ms. Davis on your side can help increase your chances of prevailing and protecting what you have. Ms. Davis has demonstrated excellence in Maryland and DC cases due to her strategic thinking and problem solving, ability to think about and anticipate the position and likely actions from the opposing side of the case, and she understands the law and court processes Maryland and D.C.
- Have you finally “made it” in your business and thinking about getting a divorce, but don’t want your spouse to take it all away?
- Or maybe you’ve had many years of success, and need as much protection as possible?
- Your business might be the only asset that your spouse wants a stake in.
Below, is a discussion about Uncontested divorces versus contested divorces, and also some legal differences in Maryland versus DC. But as a business owner you might be more interested in your finances.
Finances: Liabilities and Assets
Liabilities: The typical family has liabilities whether joint or separate. When they are joint, there should be an amicable way to split them. An easy way is for each person to keep what each has been using, such as a car. Or each person might keep the credit card that the other spouse is only a signatory on. But when there is a fight over what someone wants to keep, that’s when obviously the court will make a decision, and the decision might not be what you like.
How do you get the other side to agree on how to split the debt? An attorney, like Ms. Davis, can help with that because they have no emotion in what is at stake; she is only interested in helping you.
Assets: Assets, such as stocks or a business, or a retirement account, are divided according to some rules. For example, if you know that you need a QDRO in order to distribute certain retirement funds in a divorce, then you are better than most, and even some attorneys.
Maybe: You don’t know what a QDRO is or how to get one. Or you don’t know what your rights with regard to your business. Ms. Davis can resolve these questions and more for you and your particular situation. The sooner you speak to an attorney, the better!
Divorce in Maryland
In Maryland, a divorce is referred to as an absolute divorce and is distinguishable from a limited divorce. When a judge grants an absolute divorce it means that the parties are no longer legally married.
For an uncontested absolute divorce, the parties must have a legally enforceable separation agreement prepared. They also must have been separated for 12 months. Due to a new divorce law that was passed in October 2015, if the parties do not have children they may obtain a divorce without being separated for 12 months. Ask about the firm’s mediation referrals if you need help resolving issues prior to having your attorney prepare a separation agreement.
When the parties do not agree on the issues to be resolved in a divorce such as splitting debts, property, and assets, alimony, retirement, custody of the children, and child support, a contested divorce is appropriate and a trial will be held. In Maryland you may get divorced based on a 12 month separation with no hope of reconciliation or you may get divorced based on adultery, cruel treatment, insanity, desertion, certain criminal convictions. The decision about whether to obtain a fault divorce—reasons other than 12 month separation—should be carefully evaluated with an attorney.
Separation in Maryland
A limited divorce is granted by a court when the parties, although still legally married, no longer want to live as husband and wife. For this type of court order, the parties must be living separate and apart. A legally separated party may not remarry until he or she obtains an absolute divorce. An absolute divorce is may be granted after the parties have been separated for one year or if there is another grounds for divorce that occurred during the time they were separated, such as adultery.
This type of divorce judgment will establish an order for child custody, child support, alimony, retirement, health insurance, ownership of personal property and use and possession of the marital home, but will not decide the division of property. 12 months later the parties may obtain an absolute divorce.
Divorce in DC
In DC, a divorce can be granted based on 1 of 2 possible grounds: if the parties have been living separated and living separate and apart by mutual agreement for 12 months, or the parties have been living separate and apart involuntarily for 24 months—in other words, one party leaves the other and there was no agreement about doing so. There can be no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. Under some circumstances, a couple sharing a home may illustrate being separated by not sharing food or a bed.
Like in Maryland, an uncontested divorce in DC requires that there be a legally enforceable separation agreement prepared that reflects that all matters involving the marriage, including any children, have been mutually agreed upon. If you wish to obtain an uncontested divorce, but have a few issues that you can not agree upon with your spouse, mediation can help and is much less expensive than a contested divorce trial. Inquire with the firm for a list of recommended mediators if you have issues to resolve prior to having an attorney prepare your separation agreement.
If there are any issues that need to be resolved between the parties a contested divorce with a trial, is appropriate. The time in between filing for a contested divorce and trial involves determining what is in your best interests and any children you may have, developing a legal strategy to obtain what you seek, information gathering and evidence to help bolster your position, communicating with opposing counsel about a potential settlement, complying with court requirements, motions hearings with legally accurate arguments, preparing parties, witnesses, and experts for trial, and following legal, court, and evidentiary rules during trial. If you are thinking of dissolving your marriage, or contemplating a legal separation, you need a strong advocate who is knowledgeable and experienced.
For divorce or separation representation, call 202.870.3021 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.