How Can a Couple with Grown Children Acheive a Coopertive, Amicable Divorce?

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“I live in Maryland. My husband and I have 3 children (21, 19, & 17 yrs old). We have been married for 23 1/2 years. We get along very civil and always have. We just are not in love anymore. We both want that in our lives. We have not even separated yet. He lives in our residence where the two youngest live. They are very independent,but I still handle all of their problems when they need help. I also go home to see them, clean cook or whatever is needed at the time, I live about 40 minutes away with a friend. We have so many bills in both our names. We were hoping to make a good dent in them before we divorced. He has always worked very hard to support the family and still does. I was a stay @ home mom. I am working now though. I don’t know what I’m in titled to when we do divorce. He will retire in 4 years with a pension. I don’t want to rake him over the coals. He is a very special man. I just want what is legally fair. I think he will be fair but neither of us know the law. Have I relinquished certain rights because I don’t live there all the time??? I am seeing someone and I believe he is also. We had talked about this happening when we realized our relationship had changed. We don’t really ever discuss that part to each other, it is just assumed. I want this to be as easy as possible for my husband,children and myself. Thank you in advance for your help..”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Maryland is an equitable distribution state. Some states split all earnings and accumulations during marriage 50/50. Not Maryland. There are many factors the Court will consider, many of which are enumerated in Maryland Statute 8-205. Age, relative circumstances, valuation, duration of the marriage, support, and a bunch of other things can be considered. The Court would sort through all of these factors to come up with a distribution of property (including pensions, houses, accounts, debts, etc.) that would be equitable. Fair.

Custody, visitation and support likely only continues until children reach 18 (or 19 if not yet graduated from high school). If the living arrangement you have made makes the most sense and is in the children’s best interests then you have not given up anything there. The youngest will be 18 soon enough, anyway, making support and timeshare moot, anyway.

Since you are cooperating, one way to handle your proceedings might be through the use of a mediator. A neutral person hired by both of you, and on neither person’s side may be what you need to sort out all of your rights and come to the equitable distribution that the Court would strive to make anyway. And you would have more control of the process, because mediation does not succeed unless the parties come to an agreement. I also suggest reading what you can, and getting consultations with attorneys to try to find out what you are likely entitled to under Maryland law.

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Author: House Attorney

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