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Important planning tips for your Maryland divorce

Few decisions in life can have more consequences than choosing to end your marriage. This is particularly true if you also share children with your future ex-spouse. Almost no one enters a marriage giving much thought as to when it might end. That's why many divorcing spouses are often woefully unprepared for what may come next.

Maryland is considered a "no-fault" divorce state. Essentially what that means is that neither party is required to offer proof of adultery, abandonment or any other grounds in order to initiate a divorce. Put simply, there is nothing to keep you in a marriage if you want out. But first, it's important to get several things in order before you meet with your Maryland divorce attorney.

-- Children. There is nothing more valuable than your kids in your divorce. You need to consider whether your children will live with you or your spouse. It's also a good idea to consider how you will provide for them. For example, you'll need to know whether you may require child support if you provide the principal place of residence for your children. Alternatively, you'll need to consider whether a visitation plan to stay connected with your children can be worked out with your spouse. If not, your attorney may advise you to attempt mediation with your spouse regarding this issue.

-- Your home. If you and your spouse share ownership in a home, you may wish to consider buying out your spouse's interest in the home. You'll definitely want to hammer out ahead of time which party will be responsible for paying the mortgage. Similar conditions also apply with regards to lease agreements for rental properties.

-- Take a look at your debt and assets. You will need to have a plan about how you intend to dispose of retirement pensions, 401(k) plans and IRAs. Then, you will need to do a review of all your current debt. Student loans, medical bills, credit cards and more. Find out which debts are "shared" and identify them separately those from your own personal obligations.

Of course, these are just a few of the more important divorce planning tips. That's why a visit with your Maryland divorce attorney can offer you a more comprehensive assessment. Your attorney will help to fill in the gaps and prepare you for issues you may not have previously contemplated.

Source: The People's Law Library of Maryland, "Property distribution in Maryland," accessed May. 07, 2015

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