Do Men and Women Handle Divorce Differently?
I believe the statistics are in favor that a wife generally leaves the husband, and it can be for a multitude of reasons. There are a lot of generalizations that are hard to get into. A lot of times, typically a spurned spouse is often upset and sometimes you find mutual reasons for divorcing that people get involved in. More likely than not though, it’s one person who wants to get divorced and one person who doesn’t. We’ve been on both sides of that and you can definitely see a difference in the attitude of the spurned spouse versus the spouse who is ready to move on.
Hiring Separate Divorce Attorneys Is Beneficial For The Estranged Couple
If you hire one attorney, you’re putting that attorney in a conflict of interest situation. If you walk into my office and say, “Hey, we want a divorce,” I would tell you to walk outside and decide which person wants to hire me and have that person come in. There are a lot of inherent conflicts and even when you’re dealing in a situation where people are in full agreement, I am bound by duty to tell them what their rights are and different ways that they can go about this.
If somebody could come in with an agreement and say, “Hey, we’ve agreed on this”, I may look at the agreement and tell the client, “This is a very bad agreement and you can do much better if you go to court.”
You’re not going to find any reputable attorney who is willing to represent both parties; and if you do and it comes to court, they’re going to have to file based on representing one party. Again that’s a conflict of interest that is pretty much prescribed by the Maryland rules; one party can’t do that.
I’ve had situations where two parties are in complete agreement and I represented one person and obtained and drafted a separation agreement and advised the client as to what I think could be done better if they were to file a divorce. If the client makes a decision and wants to move forward after full consideration of all the facts, I’m not going to stop them from signing the agreement. That happens in a lot of my cases where one person hires my firm, we draft a separation agreement that’s acceptable to both parties; they sign it and then after they’ve been separated for a year, we file a no fault divorce with one attorney.
One thing to remember is that you do have the separation agreement that pretty much describes what the terms of your divorce are. All the divorces I handle have a separation agreement and we have the agreement merged but not incorporated in the degree. That basically means that it becomes part of the court order but if you needed to enforce it outside of the divorce, you could. A separation agreement is really just the contract for divorce and it should describe all the terms, including those for property, custody, wills, who’s getting inheritances, getting life insurance and several issues which will get dealt with in a property settlement agreement.
Things A Person Can Do To Prepare For An Impending Divorce
Get your financial documents in a line and know what money you have and what money you don’t have. Make sure that your spouse doesn’t have access to your bank accounts. We always recommend pulling a credit report to see what debt is out there because I’ve had people who have been surprised to see what has been put on joint credit cards or joint credit that can be a surprise later on but the main thing is to get your financial ducks in line.
If you’re dealing with custody you need to be very careful about how you split and what type of agreements you have. The first agreement is always the most important. Courts are going to look to what that first agreement said regarding children, if there are ever controversies in the future.
Are There Any Benefits In Initiating A Divorce Proceeding?
Any time you are filing any case, it is better to be the first one to file. You are then the first one that the court sees and hears from and when you call the case, you are the first one who gets to call the witnesses. Basically you are more of the driver of the issues than somebody who is the defendant. When you go through a closing argument, you get to make your argument first and then the defendant gets to go. However, as the plaintiff, you always have the rebuttal to go the last time. When you get into a trial, if you have contested issues, being able to rebut the other person’s closing argument can be big. So again, you get the first word and the last word and I see that gives any plaintiff an advantage.
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