Property division myths persist in celebrity divorce stories

On behalf of Jeffrey N. Greenblatt of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA posted in Property Division on Thursday, June 20, 2013.

People in Maryland may have seen a recent news editorial about the pitfalls of following celebrity divorce gossip. Of course, such articles can be entertaining and provocative, but when it comes to making sound legal decisions, people should never trust the advice that they glean from tabloid headlines and other questionable sources. People going through a divorce should only listen to certified and trustworthy sources, the most important of which is their family law attorney.

The article discussed a recent journalistic error in which it was stated that a celebrity couple was still living together during their divorce proceedings because if either party moved out of the marital residence, it would be considered abandonment of the property, and the home would be relinquished to the spouse remaining in the home. In short, this is simply not true. This myth, and a number of other property division urban legends, still persists, in part because of statements that unqualified people write in celebrity divorce stories that then are read by thousands or millions of people.

The truth about property division in Maryland doesn't make for such intriguing, sitcom-esque stories, but it does provide each party in the marriage the ability to fairly distribute the marital property acquired during the duration of the marriage. Each party is entitled to an equitable division, which isn't always an exactly equal figure, but should be fairly even in light of the various assets at play.

Getting the best out of a divorce is largely a matter of knowing what assets will benefit the party most, not just initially, but also over a period of many years after the divorce, and then aggressively pursuing those assets in settlement negotiations. When much of the marital property consists of assets other than cash, complex issues regarding property division and valuation of assets such as business holdings, real estate and artwork are likely to arise, and will be essential to making the most of the property division process.

Source: Forbes "Should You Move Out Of The Marital Home? Learn From Divorce Attorneys, Not The Tabloids," Jeff Landers, June 11, 2013