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Some people may choose to get married before they’re really ready to enter into a long-term relationship. They may think that they’ve found “the one,” are trying to rebel against their parents or may feel a need to enter into marriage due to pregnancy or other reasons.

Rushing into a marriage isn’t recommended. It can take people many months or even years to fully understand each other. There may be disagreements over finances, housing, schooling, etc. Discussions of those and other essential matters may or may not always be peaceful. It might not be very long before partners realize that maybe they weren’t meant for each other after all.

Young couples don’t seek divorce as often as older or more established couples, but it still happens on a regular basis. Ending an unhealthy marriage may be the best alternative for all involved parties.

Unless you mutually consent to a divorce, ending the marital union can be complicated. One side or the other may be very angry or disagree with the idea of divorce. They may want to try to work things out even if you feel your differences cannot be reasonably resolved. The person who is served with divorce papers may try to take their anger and frustration out on you or your children.

Younger couples who are getting divorced will have several important items to take care of, including:

1. Alimony

One person may be required to pay alimony to the other spouse in a divorce. That amount can be specified in the marital settlement agreement or during the divorce proceedings. Each person’s annual income, the ability of each party to be financially self-sufficient, age, health, employment, schooling and other factors will be used to determine alimony.

Alimony can be limited and set to expire after a certain number of years or a particular date in time. It can also be indefinite if necessary. If the person who was receiving alimony payments gets remarried, those payments will cease after the new marriage becomes official.

2. Child support

If the couple had children together, one parent may also be ordered to pay child support. This is usually awarded to the parent who has legal and/or physical custody of the children. Child support funds are intended to be used toward the affected children’s health care, schooling and associated expenses. They cannot be earmarked for things like family vacations, rent/mortgages or groceries.

Child support is usually spelled out in a marital settlement agreement. Couples typically make those decisions before going to court. If they cannot agree on this matter, the judge presiding over the case will make that decision for them. The affected children’s best interests should always be first and foremost when child support is considered.

3. Child visitation

A child visitation schedule should also be worked out. Each parent should have equal opportunities to spend time with their children. Visitation may be at each parent’s home. If one parent has a history of cruel or violent behavior, their visitation sessions may be supervised and held at a neutral location, such as a child care facility or community center.

Parents can work with one another to set a child visitation schedule. Work, school, holiday and vacation schedules should be kept in mind. No parent should have an unfair advantage over the other. The judge in the divorce case will review these arrangements to ensure that they are fair and will make changes if they see fit.

4. Asset division

Even if a couple has only been together for a few months or years, they will most likely have accumulated multiple assets during the marriage. Those assets will need to be divided before the divorce will be finalized. Maryland is an equitable distribution state. Assets will be split in a way that the court feels is reasonable for both parties, but it does not have to divide all assets equally.

Real estate, vehicles, furniture, personal possessions and other items will be divided in a divorce. People can try to distinguish if those assets were obtained before the marriage. Receipts and other documentation can be called into question in those instances. The judge will look at information such as whose name is on a vehicle’s title or the property deed to the marital home. Spouses can agree on asset division as part of their marital settlement agreement, which the court will review to confirm that it does not favor one person over the other.

5. Living arrangements

Couples can also decide on living arrangements before the divorce is final or has even been filed. Partners may continue to live in the marital home together before determining who will stay and who will leave. If one spouse is given the marital home in the divorce, they don’t have to allow their former partner to stay in that residence.

In most instances, one person usually leaves the marital home and lives in another location temporarily or permanently before being served with the divorce complaint. They can agree to or refute the complaint. If the person who was served (also referred to as the defendant or respondent) lives in Maryland, they have 30 days to reply to the complaint. That deadline is 60 days if the respondent if they reside in another state and up to 90 days if they are living in a different country. Failure to reply within the given time frame could result in a default judgment for the person who filed the initial complaint (also known as the plaintiff).

If partners need more time to decide on child support, child visitation and alimony, they can file for a limited divorce. Limited divorces are temporary and don’t end a marriage. An absolute divorce will terminate a marital union. Once an absolute divorce has been granted, couples can’t go back and change their minds. However, they will be able to remarry once the divorce is finalized.

Divorce can be intimidating. You probably have a lot of questions. Fortunately, we’ve got answers. Give us a call today to set up a free consultation. Our trained professionals will listen and address your concerns. We will make recommendations for potential next steps and can even represent you in court if you wish.

Helping you get back on track is our main goal. This won’t be easy. You’ll have to endure some good days and bad days along the way. If you’re willing to put forth the time and effort, you may find yourself loving life again before you realize all the positive changes that have taken place.