An uncontested divorce is more complicated than it seems. As part of the process, you need to address all the same complex, emotionally-charged issues that you would in a contested divorce. The difference is that you need to negotiate all the decisions in advance.
At the Carmiece Graves Law Firm, we know that divorce for men is a painful, challenging process. We can help you find your best way forward by ensuring that you understand your legal rights and helping you negotiate fair arrangements regarding financial matters, child issues, and other key concerns.
Understanding Uncontested Divorce in Maryland
Just because you and your spouse agree to divorce does not mean that your divorce is uncontested. Under Maryland laws, you must agree on every single issue associated with the divorce in order to file for an uncontested divorce. This includes issues with great potential for conflict, including:
- How you split up debts
- Which property belongs to each of you individually
- How you will divide jointly-owned property such as your house, cars, and furniture
- How you will divide up complex assets including retirement plans
- Who gets custody of the children and the plan for visitation (including vacation times)
- Whether one spouse will pay alimony and how much for how long
- Obligations for child support
- Insurance coverage for children
- Who gets the family pets
To decide these issues fairly, it is important for each spouse to understand their legal standing if the issues were to be decided by a judge. Once each party knows their rights, then they can hopefully work together to develop a fair plan to address each issue.
However, many couples find that the problems that are prompting them to end their marriage are the same problems that keep them from reaching the consensus needed to file for an uncontested divorce. That’s where it can be invaluable to work with an experienced uncontested divorce lawyer to help forge a compromise.
Marital Settlement Agreements
To resolve all the issues involved in the divorce, the parties create and sign a contract that is often referred to as a marital settlement agreement or MSA. They can create the agreement before they file for divorce and even before they separate. Having an agreement in place protects the rights of both parties, so it is wise for a couple to prepare a marital settlement agreement as early on in the process as possible.
The terms of the marital settlement agreement are usually incorporated in the divorce decree and carry the force of a court order. Even before that happens, a marital settlement agreement is a legally binding contract. Therefore, it is extremely important to consider each term carefully before signing the agreement.
Maryland courts provide a Marital Settlement Agreement form couples can use to create an agreement. While the form gives you a good idea of many of the key terms you will need to resolve, it provides absolutely no guidance about what your rights are under the law, so it is highly advisable to consult your own divorce attorney before making your decisions. If you forfeit legal rights in the agreement, you will still be bound by terms. You may choose to give up certain rights or do more than the law requires, but to put your family in a fair position, you should at least understand what you are entitled to under the circumstances before making final decisions.
Financial Issues are Critical in Uncontested Divorce
Money matters are one the biggest areas of conflict in many marriages, and the process of ending the marriage is no different. Even issues such as parenting plans, which might seem to deal more with people than with money, often hinge on financial concerns associated with work and living arrangements. To reach fair agreements on divorce issues, you need to fully comprehend your financial situation as a couple and as individuals, including your prospects for the future.
With extensive experience in accounting as well as divorce law, the team at the Carmiece Graves Law Firm understand how to put financial matters in the right perspective to protect your interests and reach outcomes that are fair and will enable both parties to move forward to their best lives in the future.
Work with a Uncontested Divorce Lawyers Dedicated to Protecting Mens’ Interests in Divorce
Details matter in an uncontested divorce in Maryland. Let the experienced team at the Carmiece Graves Law Firm guide you through the divorce process so that your rights are protected and the proceedings advance smoothly from start to finish. Contact our office now to learn the details about how we help with divorce for men.