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Get an overview of assets prior to filing for divorce

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For many Maryland residents, actually coming to the decision to proceed with a divorce is the biggest part of the process. Most people know that there will be a somewhat lengthy legal process associated with the decision, but once the commitment is made they are willing to do whatever it takes to dissolve the marriage and move on with life. However, a recent article noted that even after the decision has been made, there are other steps that should be taken to ensure that property division goes smoothly and both parties are left with assets after the divorce is final.

The first steps include getting financial documents in order and setting up separate banking accounts. The division of property will almost always involve a great deal of financial documents, so having these items in order and readily available will help the process go smoother. Next, setting up separate accounts is key to ensuring that funds are available both during the divorce and immediately afterward.

The next steps are to properly identify which property is subject to division and which property is separate from the marital property. Specific items, like those items owned prior to the marriage or those that are from an inheritance, usually are not considered to be part of the marital property. Anything that is considered marital property, however, will be subject to division, and in Maryland that means the principle of equitable division applies. Equitable division means the property doesn't necessarily have to be split 50/50 - it will be split so that each spouse has what the court views to be an equal share.

Making the decision to file for divorce is tough. Taking the right steps to prepare can help make the whole process, both from a legal standpoint and an emotional standpoint, go a lot smoother.

Source: GoBankingRates.com, "How to Perfectly Plan Your Divorce to Protect Your Assets," Amanda Garcia, Jan. 8, 2014

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