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Frederick Maryland Legal Blog

Should spouses who are divorcing file for bankruptcy together?

No one anticipates that their marriage will result in a divorce, just as no one anticipates that their financial life will result in bankruptcy. Going through a divorce or declaring bankruptcy are stressful enough on their own, but what if both are happening at the same time? For some people, divorce and bankruptcy will go hand in hand.

People who declare bankruptcy around the same time as they get divorced often find that declaring bankruptcy with their partner can have its advantages. Even if you and your spouse are eager to split as quickly as possible, you may find many benefits to declaring bankruptcy jointly.

Do you have overwhelming debt? Consider bankruptcy

Choosing to file bankruptcy is not an easy decision, but if you are struggling to pay back significant credit card debt it may be the right option for you.

While personal bankruptcy is often stigmatized, no one plans to go bankrupt. Often a life event significantly reduces income or increases bills, leading to a precarious financial situation. The three most common reasons for filing bankruptcy are divorce, medical bills and unemployment. If you are overburdened by debt, bankruptcy could provide you with much needed debt relief.

5 common mistakes in high asset divorces

For divorcing couples with significant assets, division of property is one of the biggest hurdles they face. In Maryland, assets are distributed equally during a divorce. This means the court systems do not have to divide the assets between the spouses equally so long as the distribution is fair. Judges consider the length of the marriage, what each spouse contributed to the marriage and the economic circumstances of each spouse when dividing assets.

4 items that will better prepare you for a car accident

Few people expect to be involved in a serious car accident. Whether it is because the relative odds being in a collision are so low, or because someone thinks they are a good driver, the reality is that anyone can be in a motor vehicle collision at any time.

While drivers can take a number of safety precautions to protect themselves, there is no way to completely negate the risks of an accident. Fortunately, there are four items you can keep inside of your car if you do find yourself in a collision to help you get through this difficult event.

Dissipation of Marital Assets in Divorce:

Dissipation of assets occurs in a divorce case when joint funds have been spent for other than family purposes with the intention of reducing the amount of money available. In other words, one spouse spends money so that the other spouse can't get their fair share. In the recent case of Riker v. Riker, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals determined a trial court had made a mistake when it determined that a wife had improperly taken retirement funds out of an account and awarded the husband a judgment for these funds less taxes and fees. The Court of Special Appeals said the taxes and fees should not have been deducted.

Who Makes the Survivor Benefit Selections?

In a divorce case, a pension survivor benefit is an asset which is in play for division. Recently the Maryland Court of Special Appeals struck down a decision of the Carroll County Circuit Court which determined that a former husband had the right to make a selection of the options available for a survivor benefit which had been assigned to his wife. The appeals court held that the Circuit Court, among other things, had to look at what a reasonable person interpreting the parties' agreement would have decided. This case illustrates that division of retirement benefits is a complicated process and is best accomplished when experienced divorce lawyers are involved in preparing the property settlement agreements. 

Reasons Needed for Denial of Lawyer Fees

In a recent unreported Maryland Court of Special Appeals Case the trial court in a divorce case awarded no attorney's fees to a wife after awarding her alimony. The appeals court held that this decision was erroneous. The appeals court made this determination because it claimed the proper analysis was not performed by the trial judge. This was because the husband had equity in the parties home that was to be sold, had significantly higher income, had a lack of living expenses, and his wife had considerable debt. As a result the appeals court determined that the trial court needed to conduct an analysis of the financial status and respective needs of the parties in order to justify its denial of attorney's fees to appellant. 

Custody Can Be Resolved When Parties Reside Together

In a recent unreported case, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals determined that a court can make custody determinations while the mother and father continue to reside together. This case involved some unique facts, however, this case is a marked change from prior treatment of custody disputes. 

Sexual Abuse Conviction Does Not Alter Visitation

In an appeal of a divorce and custody decision in Prince George's County, The Maryland Court of Special Appeals recently held that a father's dishonesty concerning a conviction for sexual abuse of an adult does not result in mandatory modification of a visitation schedule mandating that the father have tiebreaker authority in certain decisions. Instrumental in the appellate court's determination was the fact that the court had ample evidence before it concerning the conviction at the time the initial determination was made. 

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