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How does no-fault divorce impact property division?

Many Maryland residents are familiar with the concept of no-fault divorce. This is the legal term used to describe a path to ending a marriage that does not require one party to claim that the marriage was broken due to the actions of the other party. It is a simple legal statement that both parties agree that their marriage is beyond repair and that both are ready to move on. No-fault divorce can make the process of ending a marriage far easier for many couples, including aiding in the property division process.

The act of dividing marital wealth can be stressful, especially when emotions and anxiety levels are high. Even though the process of divvying up possessions and assets is a practical matter, emotions often come into play. When couples are able to initiate their divorce from a stance of agreement, property division can be easier than when one party is focused on building a case against the other.

Requiring fault as part of the divorce process places spouses in an adversarial position toward one another. That is not conducive to engaging in good-faith property negotiations. It should also be noted that a divorce based on fault can take longer to resolve than one where fault plays no role. That leaves less time for one or both spouses to move on to new relationships, and it often further complicates property division matters.

For many in Maryland who are watching to see how another state will handle the push to eliminate no-fault divorce, the issue seems clear. However, there are others who firmly believe that the path toward divorce is too easy, and they believe that making things more challenging could help couples take the time to focus on their marriage and work on resolving their issues. The topic is not as simple as many would like to believe, but it is clear that the manner in which a divorce is structured can have an impact on the property division process.

Source: mysanantonio.com, "Much fault in junking no-fault divorce", Maria Anglin, Jan. 7, 2017

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