Maryland Senator Facing Property Division in Impending Divorce

The wife of a state senator in Maryland is seeking a divorce from her husband, alleging that he had an extramarital affair with a political aide in her 20s. The man, age 64, is accused of committing adultery with the 26-year-old woman, who was employed by his political team in 2010 and 2011; it is not clear exactly when the affair began. In some states – or if couples have agreed to such provisions in a prenup – infidelity may affect the way property division is handled during a breakup.

The politician, Richard Colburn, is taking steps to limit the number of eyes that can pry into the divorce case, as the legal proceedings may harm his political career and financial standing. In this case, the politician says he fears extortion or blackmail that could accompany the property division phase of his divorce; thus, he wants the information to remain private. The man and his wife do not have any children, which could simplify some aspects of the divorce. It is not clear whether the pair will be forced to pursue complex property division, as news reports have not mentioned any business holdings, large inheritances or other, similar assets.

Many Maryland residents may be under the impression that adultery changes the way in which property is divided during a divorce proceeding. In most cases, infidelity does not play a role in the equitable division of marital holdings, however. Prenuptial agreements may include stipulations about property division after an extramarital affair, but most states have abandoned previous provisions that would have given the aggrieved spouse a financial advantage. Clients who are looking to dissolve their marriage after infidelity should still consult with a qualified family attorney to discuss their legal and financial options.

Source: Delmarvanow.com, “Sen. Colburn’s wife files for divorce, alleging relationship with former aide” Jennifer Shutt, Jan. 03, 2014