Baltimore County & Towson Divorce Lawyer | Marital Separation Agreements.
The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman Prepares Marital Separation Agreements That Leave Nothing to Chance
Marital Separation Agreements are generally favored by the courts as a peaceful and fair way of resolving disputes and differences of couples in contemplation of a divorce. Please note: sloppy, one-sided or unprofessional Marital Separation Agreements may be rejected by the courts. The properly prepared Marital Separation Agreements prepared by a Towson attorney will include the following components:
- Preamble setting forth the names of the parties, the date of separation, and the intention to permanently separate for the purpose of ending the marriage. The preamble may also state that neither party waives any grounds for divorce by entering the Marital Separation Agreement.
- Marital Home Clause setting forth what is happening to the marital home; if there is a buy-out, this clause will have the sale price, the date, and deadline for refinancing, and what happens in the (very possible) event that there is no refinancing; if the marital home is to be sold, the Marital Home clause will have a time line for selecting the broker or auctioneer, deadline for listing listing the property, and ground rules not only for selecting a sales price but also what happens in the event an offer comes through that is less than the price. The proper marital home clause will be specifically tailored to Maryland law, define what constitutes the "net proceeds" and set forth how those proceeds are to be divided. In addition, there should be a full explanation concerning how the costs of upkeep and the costs of repairs will be divided pending the resolution.
- Monetary Award Clause. This should specify the method of calculating the monetary award, state when the monetary award is to be paid, and what happens to the breaching party in the event that the monetary award is not paid. Alternatively, there should be proper language waiving any claim to a monetary award irrevocably.
- Retirement Asset Clauses for each pension and each 401K explaining the formula for dividing each retirement asset, the circumstances for having the Qualified Domestic Relations Order ("QDRO") prepared and the means that the QDRO will be submitted to the court. The application of the Bangs formula pursuant to case law is appropriate in most cases. .
- Vehicles Clause. This establishes who keeps which vehicles, assigns responsibility for refinancing, explains what happens in the event refinancing fails, apportions responsibility for any deficiency, and establishes a protocol for the Motor Vehicles Administration ("MVA") title transfer. The proper vehicle clause will also address any outstanding issues concerning insurance and apportions responsibility in the event the vehicle is not insured as contemplated.
- Bank Accounts Clause. Typically this will involve dividing whatever remains in joint bank accounts and then providing a deadline for closing all joint bank accounts. There should be additional language stating that all individually titled bank accounts shall be the sole and separate property of the title holder free and clear of any and all claims by the other spouse.
- Alimony Clause. This either waives alimony or provides indefinite, rehabilitative, or temporary alimony. If alimony is provided for, the alimony clause should state whether the alimony terminates if the spouse receiving alimony remarries, states whether the alimony term and/or amount is modifiable and, if so, under what circumstances. Finally, the alimony clause should state whether the alimony is taxable and tax deductible.
- Child Custody Clause. This can incorporate a separate Parenting Plan or fully describe who has legal custody, whether there is any tie-breaker authority, who has physical custody, provide an access schedule for both parents for the school year, the summer, and spring break, and whatever holidays are important for each family. The best custody clause will have a dispute-resolution mechanism.
- Counsel Fees Clause. The clause on counsel fees should state whether the parties were represented by attorneys during the preparation of the agreement. It should state who is responsible for counsel fees related to preparing the agreement and who will be responsible for counsel fees in the event that the agreement is dishonored by either party.
- Division of Property in the Marital Home. The division of property in the marital home is best accomplished by lists that are not so specific that they are cumbersome yet leaving little to chance.
- Mutual and General Release.
Please Call (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free Consultation. The purpose of the consultation is to decide whether you want to hire Amar S. Weisman. To obtain legal services, you must pay a retainer, see Policy on Fees/Costs. The law firm is next to The Circuit Court For Baltimore County, at 305 Allegheny Avenue, Towson, MD, 21204. We represent clients throughout the Baltimore area including Aberdeen. Abingdon, Bel Air, Bowleys Quarters, Catonsville, Cockeysville, Edgewood, Essex, Lutherville, Owings Mills, Parkville, Perry Hall, Rosedale, Sparrows Point, Timonium, Towson, Westminster and White Marsh.