How do I best prepare for a divorce in Maryland which involves complicated financial issues, including significant liquid assets, real property, a monetary award demand, retirement funds, an alimony demand, and real property?

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If you are considering separation, consult with a lawyer at that time. Don't wait until after you've separated. Once you retain a lawyer, review any contemplated changes to the financial status quo with him/her before taking any action.

Obviously, retain counsel who is experienced. Your lawyer will help you construct a team, which may include a business evaluator, a forensic accountant, a real estate appraiser, a financial planner and others. Your lawyer will ask you to supply documentation of income, expenses, assets and liabilities. You will need to provide tax returns (business and personal), bank statements, credit card statements, loan applications, brokerage house statements and other documents. Obtain these records promptly so your lawyer has a comprehensive list of all of your holdings, however titled and whenever acquired. Locate the documents which establish when and how you acquired each asset, so that a determination can be made if any assets currently in existence were acquired (in whole or in part) before the marriage. Certain assets acquired during the marriage (by inheritance, gift from a third party, or excluded by valid agreement) may not be marital property. Providing records of how and when items of property were obtained may give your lawyer a basis to claim that some of your assets do not belong in the "marital pot." Keep good records of your expenditures so that a fair assessment can be made of your lifestyle and standard of living.

Remember, the process of disentangling can take a long time and be emotionally charged. 


The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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