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Does divorce work how you think it does?

Most people in Maryland have some idea of how divorce works. We have all seen divorce scenarios play out in movies, TV shows or in the tabloids — and it is easy to start to think that these portrayals of divorce are true to life. For most people, however, they are not, and a recent article in the Huffington Post helped clear up some of the most common misconceptions about how divorce works.

The first misconception has to do with how marital property is divided. If the property was owned by both of you throughout your marriage, then it should be split equally, right? Sometimes, but not always. Maryland is an equitable distribution state, meaning that your property division agreement must be fair. Fair, however, does not always mean equal.

Another commonly held belief is that the reason for your divorce — also known as fault — is important. In the majority of cases, however, it is not. Now that you are no longer required to provide a reason for your divorce, the courts don’t usually consider it. This means that you won’t necessarily get a better settlement just because your spouse cheated on you.

Finally, some people are under the impression that if you and your spouse are in agreement on most things, all you have to do is sign a few papers to make your divorce legal. Although an amicable divorce can be much easier than some contested divorces, you still have to file a petition with the court and getting a judge to sign off on your agreement. In many cases, couples find it beneficial to have an attorney walk them through the process to make sure it’s done correctly.

Although these may not answer all of your questions about divorce, we hope they clear up some misconceptions you may have had. If you are considering a divorce and have more questions about how the process works, an experienced divorce lawyer can help you get the answers you need.

Source: Huffington Post, “5 Divorce Myths to Legally Separate From (Even if You’re Single),” Jessica Mason, April 9, 2015

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