Posted on behalf of Jeffrey N. Greenblatt of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA
People in Maryland may have seen a recent editorial in Forbes about some of the common arguments and unpleasantness that can occur when spouses argue over the terms of their divorce settlement. Not surprisingly, divorcing spouses have a tendency not to see eye-to-eye over everything, especially when it comes to finances and asset division. After all, nobody wants to lose a large percentage of their wealth, and it’s easy to blame an ex-spouse for the financial burden that comes along with a divorce, even if that blame is entirely misdirected.
Bad times and heated arguments may be more or less likely in most divorces, but the better prepared a person is to handle these, the less likely they are to continue or escalate. One common scenario people fear is being threatened by their spouse. Threats of physical violence are most likely illegal and need to be dealt with immediately by notifying the proper authorities and taking the proper precautions to ensure a person’s safety.
Threats of a physical nature aren’t nearly as common, though, as threats about a person’s future financial security. All too often, an aggravated spouse might say something like — “you’ll never get a dime from me,” or “I’ll take everything you’ve got.” But rather than reciprocate those threats or genuinely fear they may come true, the best defense a person has is their own knowledge of the law.
In Maryland, each spouse is entitled to an equitable distribution of the marital property, meaning that each spouse is entitled to a fair share of the couple’s assets in light of their unique income and economic circumstances. By knowing what to expect, those threats can seem far-fetched and desperate, and in most cases they likely are.
People going through a complex divorce should be prepared to fight to protect their assets, but rather than wasting time playing the blame game or lobbing threats at a spouse, people need to focus their energies settling the issues at hand.
Source: Forbes, “How to Cope With Your Husband’s Financial Threats During Divorce,” Jeff Landers, Jan. 8, 2014