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What happens to your vacation home during your divorce?

If you are in the process of ending your marriage, you undoubtedly realize you must divide everything you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse jointly own. According to the Maryland Judiciary, though, you do not have to leave property division up to the courts. Indeed, you have the opportunity to negotiate an acceptable property settlement with your husband or wife.

During your settlement negotiations, you should not forget to address every marital asset you have. This includes your vacation home. Luckily, you have some options for dealing with the property.

Should you put the home on the market?

It can be challenging to sell a vacation spot, particularly during certain parts of the year. Still, if your home is in an in-demand area, you may want to consider putting it on the market. After all, dividing cash is typically a much simpler endeavor than trying to split up a physical piece of property.

Can you share the residence?

You and your soon-to-be ex may have some fond memories of happier times at your vacation home. The two of you also may want to continue to use the property in the future. If so, you may be able to come up with a shared-ownership arrangement.

In your shared-ownership agreement, you should not forget to address upkeep, maintenance, improvements and other property-related expenses. Likewise, you should formulate a workable usage schedule that outlines when each of you can be at the property after your divorce.

If you and your husband or wife cannot come up with an acceptable settlement, a Maryland court must divide your wealth equitably. Ultimately, this means you should at least receive a fair share of your vacation home’s value.

Does the amount of money you have impact divorce litigation?

Divorce often comes along with a fair share of arguments. Even the most amicable of couples, will likely disagree about a few issues related to property.  Property more than just a house, it also includes bank accounts, retirement assets and investments.  Often times, the amount of money a couple has effects the level of discord between them upon separation.

Couples with a high net worth

Business Insider discusses the impact of wealth on divorce arguments. Some people believe that the more wealth a couple has, the more contested they will be or the more arguments that they may have. The more money that there is, the more each has to gain or lose.

However, other studies have shown that couples with a net worth of over $5 million actually are more likely to resolve issues without litigation or major disagreement.

Speculation indicates that this happens because couples at this level of wealth no longer fear for the impact that divorce could have on their finances. Regardless of how the split goes, they will likely still have the money they need to keep living their current lifestyle. Thus, when these couples divorce, they usually tend to fight over intangible things like social status rather than money.

Couples with lower net worth

Couples with a net worth of $1 million or less often fight quite a bit over money. and property. This may be due to feelings of financial insecurity. One wrong move in a divorce could potentially cost a person a good chunk of their life earnings or savings, which puts a lot of pressure on both parties when crafting agreements.

We have written this to balance your expectations when contemplating divorce.  It is important to consider the financial impact of a divorce.

How do you use social media during divorce?

Like many people, you use social media to stay connected with friends and family members. You may also use different social media sites to access news, entertain yourself and even play games.

Most people use social media today and according to the Pew Research Center, approximately 72% of Americans use social media in some form. If you are in the middle of the divorce process, you should use social media carefully until you finalize a settlement.

It is important to remember that what you post on social media may one day be used in Court, and read by a Judge.  You may also have to produce your entire history of your various social media accounts, which often includes messages between people not even related to your case.  Taking this issues into consideration, is a very important part as you consider divorce or custody litigation.

Change your passwords

As soon as soon as you consider either separation or possible changes to custody arrangements, change all the passwords on your social media accounts. You may think that the potential opposing party may not try and access your profiles during this period of time (custody or divorce litigation), but it is beneficial to alter your passwords just to be sure. Also, you should be cognizant to leave your accounts open on a family use computer.

Avoid talking about your custody or separation/divorce online

During child custody, property division and other divorce proceedings, you may feel tempted to vent your frustrations online and garner support. However, you should refrain from talking negatively about your spouse online and revealing details of the divorce process. Instead, talk to a friend, family member or therapist about what you are going through.

Update your privacy settings

When you decide to your separate from your spouse, or if you are considering changes to custody arrangements, go through and check the security settings on your social media accounts. Make sure your friends cannot tag you in photos without your permission, for example.

It can be difficult to try and manage your online presence while going through the separation/divorce process. Depending on your situation, it may be beneficial to stay off of social media for a while until you finalize your divorce.

Do Maryland courts favor the parent with more assets?

Maryland adheres to an equitable distribution rather than a community property, which means that shared marital property ends up split between the soon-to-be-ex-spouses based on what is fair. However, separate property remains with the original owner.

Separate property may include gifts given solely to one spouse, assets the person came into the marriage with and any inheritance (given there was no mingling of said inheritance with joint accounts or ownership changes). In a high-asset divorce, a person with a great deal of separate property may still end up wealthier than the other party. This also holds true if there is a valid prenuptial agreement. It is then natural to worry that courts may favor wealthier individuals when determining child custody.

Wealth is not the deciding factor

Assets are only a single factor considered by judges when determining child custody and the development of parenting plans. Courts want to create a plan that is in the children’s best interests, and to do so they look at the relationship between the children and the parent, the age of the children, the number of children and the parent’s fitness among other criteria.

Courts do care about parents’ ability to provide

With regards to wealth, judges look more at the parent’s employment and ability to provide than the magnitude of their personal possessions. If a parent does not have a job or a stable home, he or she is less likely to get full custody, for instance.

Courts do not give preference to the richer parent, though they do consider earning ability. They take into account many factors to determine what serves the best interest of the child.