Your spouse is powerful, wealthy, and you both live an extremely luxurious lifestyle. But it all just came crashing down when you discovered – through the media, not your spouse – that he or she has been having years of affairs and other inappropriate relationships at the workplace.
Your family is devastated. You are in absolute shock.
What do you do now? Where do you turn? What will happen next?
You want a divorce. But will the courts treat you fairly? What can you get?
Let’s break it down into two separate questions. First, what can you get from the Courts in a divorce? Second, is there anything else you can get?
In terms of the divorce, the Courts make rulings on the following financial areas:
- Child Support
- Division of All Assets
- Attorneys’ Fees
Often, there are many assets. They are divided into such categories as real property, tangible personal property, accounts (both retirement and non-retirement), businesses, and all other assets.
Often, people think that all assets are divided equally In Maryland. That is not necessarily the case.
First, the Court has to determine what property is “marital,” as only marital property is distributed. Second – and I am over-simplifying – Maryland law does not require an equal division of marital assets. Instead, Maryland subscribes to the concept of an “equitable” division, and the Court looks at many factors to decide whether an equal division is also an equitable division. One important factor Courts consider is the reason for the breakup of the marriage.
Sometimes, an equitable division is not an equal division of assets. That is why you need a highly experienced divorce attorney to evaluate your situation.
There is a second issue, which is whether you can obtain any further financial relief outside of the divorce process due to your spouse’s misbehavior. The answer may very well be “yes.”
In Maryland, you may recover monetary damages for emotional pain and suffering if your spouse, through an affair, has “exposed” you to any sexually transmitted disease, even if you are not diagnosed with an STD. It is your fear of being exposed to an STD that allows for recovery of damages. Occasionally, this constitutes a large form of financial recovery. Sometimes, it is leverage within the divorce case for a better settlement.
It is critical to have a highly experienced divorce attorney evaluate all claims thoroughly, especially before speaking to the media or anyone else.