Finalizing a divorce is sometimes only half the battle

Finalizing a divorce is sometimes only half the battle

| Oct 26, 2020 | Post-Divorce Issues |

People in the greater Washington metro area may be lured into thinking that when they receive a final divorce decree or settlement, the legal process is over.

In many cases, though, the decree marks the start of a number of contentious post-dissolution issues between a couple. If the couple has children together, for instance, they may have ongoing disputes about custody and child support.

However, property division can also be a source of further negotiation and litigation in Maryland family courts.

It is one thing for a court to, for example, award the couple’s family home to one spouse. It is quite another to get the other spouse to actually sign over the title.

Sometimes, these post-divorce asset transfers get complicated because one of the spouses refuses to cooperate. In other cases, the nature of the transfer itself may cause delays if the parties involved are not careful.

Securing cooperation from the other side may require legal action

While one would hope that the other side would either follow the court’s orders or go through the appropriate legal channels to try to change them, sometimes people just dig in their heels when it comes to transferring property they are supposed to transfer as part of the divorce.

In such cases, a person may have to attempt to hold the other side in contempt of court or take other enforcement actions.

Judges have a number means available for punishing those who violate the court’s orders without a good reason, including incarceration.

Property transfers are not always simple affairs

Even if both sides are cooperative, asset transfers after a divorce are not always just a matter of signing a document or two. By way of example, with respect to tax-protected retirement plans, one side may need to execute a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO.

QDRO’s are detailed legal documents that both the court and the retirement plan’s administrator must approve, and not completing a QDRO properly can have negative tax consequence or cause delays.

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