If one party of a divorce lives in Florida and the other party lives and works in Maryland, which is the best state of the two to pursue a divorce to protect premarital assets if the other is seeking to be awarded a settlement requiring liquidation of those assets on the basis of disparity of income?
My wife wants a divorce for "resolution" of family and relationship issues. We were married in one state, the primary address for the family is in another state. I work in another state. Marriage in mid 2010. Limited cohabitation due to different home and work locations. Last cohabitation was during the 2011 Christmas holidays. I have been told not to return to primary family home for any reason.
Early in the marriage I liquidated mutual funds and insurance policies to help her keep her home as family home.
Both Florida and Maryland are equitable property states meaning that a Court will divide property equitably during divorce, but not necessarily equally. Without more information, it's impossible to answer your question. To be safe, you should consult counsel in both Florida and Maryland.
This answer is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. The author is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland and the article is based solely on Maryland law.
Under these facts, an experienced domestic relations attorneys can help you identify and prove that assets were pre-marital and therefore non-marital. If your wife lives elsewhere and is supporting herself she will have a difficult time proving to a Judge that it is "equitable" that she be awarded money that requires you to pull funds from non-marital assets.
With regard to which state is better, I agree with Mr. Redmond and I'd add tht one factor would be convenience for YOU. I doubt you want to litigate in Florida. File in Maryland immediately since many/most of the assets you are accumulating now will be considered marital until the date of divorce. You want to start the process as soon as possible.
I do not practice in either state. You may need to consult with an attorney in both states before you make your decision. Assuming that both states are equitable distribution states, convenience will be your determining factor. Unless, of course, there are children involved. Then you have to consider how child support is determined. Some states do a flat percentage rate of the non-custodial parents gross income; some states use a formula taking into consideration both parent’s gross income; some states will base child support on net incomes or income. You really need to consult with at least one attorney, or one attorney in each state to make an informed decision.