How is property allocated in divorce in Maryland?
Filing for divorce in Maryland can be a long and tedious process. There are various requirements that must be met before the court can grant a divorce. While it is usually best to meet the requirements, including asset division, amicably, it can be extremely difficult and emotional. Enlisting an experienced divorce and family law attorney, will make this process more bearable.
Here is how marital property is legally divided in Maryland.
Maryland Divorce Laws
Maryland uses equitable distribution, where the separating couple is entitled to a fair share of the property acquired during their marriage. Notably, equitable distribution does not necessarily refer to a 50-50 share, though it is often close, but a fair division of property under the circumstances.
So what is considered marital property? Marital assets refer to all the property that you collectively acquire during your marriage, regardless of how titled. Marital property includes, but is not limited to, obvious assets such as houses, bank accounts, stocks, patents, as well as tangible personal property like cars, furniture, appliances, and jewelry. Property acquired by gift or inheritance, regardless of when acquired, does not constitute marital property.
There are, however, certain circumstances that may make what was once separate property become marital property. By way of example, if you acquired a house before marriage and then your spouse contributed to mortgage payments, then the spouse would have a marital property interest in the home.
Often times, divorcing couples agree to divide their marital property equally. However, if the parties cannot reach an agreement then the court looks as the following factors in determining how to equitably divide marital assets:
- Income of each spouse
– Marital misconduct that led to divorce, e.g. adultery
- Length of the marriage
- Health, age and physical condition of each spouse
- Labor and monetary contribution to the welfare of the family
If you are having trouble reaching an amicable agreement, it is prudent to hire a professional lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can assist with guiding you to an agreement that assures a fair and equitable settlement.