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How Is Property Divided in a Maryland Divorce?

Our Annapolis Divorce Lawyers at Oliveri & Larsen Will Help You Navigate Property Division in Your Divorce

Divorce is never easy, and property division is one of the most challenging aspects. This process can be confusing and emotionally draining. Understanding how property is divided in Maryland can help reduce some of the stress involved.

Marital Property vs. Non-Marital Property

In Maryland, the court distinguishes between marital and non-marital property. Marital property includes all assets and debts acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title.

Marital Property

  • Family home: Even if the house is in one spouse’s name, it is typically still considered marital property if purchased during the marriage.
  • Bank accounts: Joint or individual accounts created and funded with income earned during the marriage.
  • Retirement accounts: Contributions to 401(k) plans, IRAs, or pensions made during the marriage.
  • Vehicles: Cars, boats, or any other vehicles acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title.
  • Debts: Credit card debts or loans incurred during the marriage.

On the other hand, non-marital property consists of assets acquired before the marriage, inheritances, or gifts given to one spouse. If you can prove that an asset is non-marital, it will not be subject to division.

Non-Marital Property

  • Pre-marriage savings: Bank accounts or investments owned individually before the marriage.
  • Inheritance: Any property, money, or assets inherited by one spouse, even if received during the marriage.
  • Gifts: Items or money explicitly given to one spouse, such as jewelry or personal heirlooms.
  • Property purchased before marriage: Real estate or other significant assets one spouse owns before the marriage.

Equitable Distribution

Maryland follows the principle of equitable distribution. This does not mean that property is divided equally, but rather in a fair and just way. The court considers several factors when determining what is equitable.

  • Length of the marriage: The duration of the marriage plays a significant role in how assets and debts are divided.
  • Contributions to the marriage: This includes financial contributions as a homemaker or caregiver.
  • Economic circumstances: The current and future economic prospects of each spouse, including income, employment status, and financial needs.
  • Age and health: Each spouse’s age and physical and mental health are considered.
  • Standard of living: The standard of living established during the marriage and the potential of each spouse to maintain a similar lifestyle post-divorce.
  • Non-marital property: The value and impact of non-marital property retained by each spouse.
  • Alimony: Whether a spouse receives or pays alimony can influence property division.
  • Fault or misconduct: Any marital misconduct or fault that contributed to the breakdown of the marriage.
  • Contributions to non-marital property: Enhancements made to non-marital property with marital funds or efforts.
  • Agreements between spouses: Any existing prenuptial or postnuptial agreements will be considered.
  • Other relevant factors: Any other factor the court finds relevant in ensuring a fair and just distribution.

Process of Division

The process begins with the identification and valuation of all marital property. Both spouses must disclose all assets and debts. Failing to do so can result in legal consequences.

Once all marital property is identified and valued, the court will decide how to divide it. This can be done through negotiation between the spouses or a court order. In some cases, mediation may be used to reach an agreement.

Our Annapolis Divorce Lawyers at Oliveri & Larsen Will Help You Navigate Property Division in Your Divorce

If you are going through a divorce and need assistance with property division, speak with our Annapolis divorce lawyers at Oliveri & Larsen today. Contact us online or call us at 410-295-3000 to schedule your consultation with our experienced team. Located in Annapolis, Maryland, we serve clients in Ocean City, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Calvert County, Harford County, Howard County, Queen Anne’s County, St. Mary’s County, Worcester County, Kent County, and the upper and lower Eastern Shores of Maryland.

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