Divorces can last a long time. They can drag on for six months, a year, or even longer. When will it finally be over?
If there has been discussion about the divorce decree, then you’re on the right track. You’re in the home stretch and your divorce may be ending soon.
Once you sign this decree, your divorce is final. This is a great thing, but you need to make sure that everything is in order before you sign on the dotted line. Here’s what you need to know before signing.
What Topics Will be Covered?
Your divorce decree will encompass many topics, including the following:
- Also known as spousal support, alimony is a factor in some, but not all, divorces. It will usually be available to one spouse if they stayed at home to care for children or made much less money than the other spouse.
- Child custody and visitation. Who gets custody of the children? How will it be split? What will the visitation schedule be like? This information will be included in the decree so there is no confusion,
- Asset and debt distribution. When you divorce, you and your spouse will need to decide on who gets what. All marital assets will be split based on state law. Maryland is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the court will decide on what is fair if the couple cannot decide. It does not have to be 50/50, but can be some other percentage. When it comes to marital debt, it’s best to pay it off before the divorce. If not, then it will be split based on primary responsibility.
What to Check
Before signing the divorce decree, you want to make sure everything is accurate. Don’t assume everything is correct. Double-check the following:
- Wording regarding retirement funds and pension plans. If there is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) involved, make sure it is addressed properly. There may be specific verbiage required.
- Child custody verbiage. Be wary of terms such as “liberal and reasonable.” While this may seem great, your ex-spouse may take advantage of this phrase and be too liberal, which may not be in the child’s best interests.
- Vague language. Everything listed in the decree should include sufficient detail.
- Anything that’s missing. If you expected a certain agreement or detail to be included in the decree, and it’s not, be sure to ask about it. Otherwise, it won’t be enforceable.
Contact a Maryland Family Law Attorney Today
While getting a divorce decree can be exciting if you’ve been ready to be single for a while, you need to make sure it incorporates all the right information. Once you sign and agree to it, it’s not easy to make modifications.
The Columbia divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. can help you with your divorce and ensure your decree has all the correct information. Call (410) 774-5987 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation. We have two offices to serve you.