How Does A Non-Working Spouse Afford A Quality Family Law Attorney?
If you are a non-working spouse, financially dependent on your partner, and now in need of a family law attorney, this can certainly feel like a tough position. Depending on your financial circumstances, you may wish to speak to a low cost or pro bono attorney in the state of Maryland. You would need to apply for these services and wait for approval. Your eligibility will depend in large part on your income and any other financial resources that are available to you.
If you’re not eligible for either of those services, you can consult with different attorneys and assess which attorney or law firm offers a fee structure that is well-suited for you. If you are the financially dependent spouse or you do not have the financial means to afford an attorney, you can request that the other party with significantly more financial ability pay some of your attorney fees as part of the proceedings.
Is The Working Spouse Required To Pay The Non-Working Spouse’s Attorney Fees In A Maryland Divorce?
The working spouse is not by rule required to pay for the non-working spouse’s attorney fees. The court addresses any requests for attorney fees on a case-by-case basis. However, no rule or law in Maryland stipulates that a working spouse, or the financially more affluent spouse, is required to pay for the other spouse’s legal fees. Similarly, it does not matter who initiated the divorce filing, the court does not award any preference to either the plaintiff or the defendant.
Will A Stay At Home Parent Get An Equitable Division In Assets Even Though They Didn’t Contribute To The Family Income?
In most cases, the stay-at-home parent would have a claim to an equitable division of any marital property that was accrued during the course of the marriage. Marital property can be divided by the court regardless of how it was titled or by whom it was purchased.
For instance, if the parties acquire a car, house, or other property during the marriage and it is only titled to one spouse, it is still considered marital property. As part of the divorce proceedings, the court will divide that property up equitably between the parties. And, as a financially-dependent spouse, you can seek alimony as support. Alimony would be awarded if you have been financially dependent throughout the course of the marriage on the other spouse.
Child support, under Maryland laws, is calculated according to the Maryland child support guidelines. A range of factors are taken into account, such as each party’s income and the number of nights they spend with their children. The court has the ability to award child support, taking into consideration those factors.
Is A Stay At Home Parent Automatically Favored In A Custody Arrangement In A Divorce Case?
There is no automatic preference given to either spouse, working or stay-at-home. The court has to consider a range of factors in making a determination about custody. The ultimate standard that the court is guided by is what is in the best interest of the children.
For instance, if one parent is a stay-at-home parent, they may be more present in the house in the morning to get them ready for school and then again in the afternoon when the children return from school. This presence would certainly help and be considered by the court. The court would, however, also consider the other parent’s ability to be present and their ability to provide financially.
How Is The Value That The Earning Spouse Brings Determined When Dividing Assets In A Maryland Divorce?
Maryland is an equitable distribution state. This means that the distribution of marital property is decided in a manner that the court deems equitable or fair given the history of the marriage, the contributions of both parties during the marriage, the circumstances leading up to the divorce, and a number of other factors.
Financial support to the family and contributions are certainly relevant to the court’s consideration while dividing up marital property, but so are non-monetary contributions to the household in terms of upkeep and child care, which also add substantial value to the marriage. The court would consider both when dividing the marital property.
For more information on Divorce Involving a Non-Working Spouse, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you seek by calling (410) 673-4888 today.