Understanding the ins and outs of property division in a MD divorce case

Property division in Maryland weighs heavily upon the judge’s discretion and takes into account separate and marital property as well.

Maryland couples who are going through a divorce may experience a rush of emotions, especially when it comes time to discuss matters of property and asset division. People who spend years working together to accumulate marital property may have difficulties when it comes time to determine who gets what. Each divorce case is unique, and while some couples prefer to separate their property on their own, others are incapable of doing so and must leave the task of distributing property up to the Maryland courts.

Equitable distribution of property

Maryland is an equitable distribution of property state, which separates all marital property and assets in a fair fashion. This often relies on the discretion of the court-appointed judge, who may consider the following when making his or her decision, according to Maryland statute.

  • The age of each spouse.
  • How long the marriage lasted.
  • The reason for the divorce.
  • The amount of money each spouse makes.
  • The emotional and financial contribution that each spouse made to the family.
  • The mental and physical condition of each spouse.

The judge may also take into account whether alimony was awarded in the case, as well as who has primary custody of the children.

Separate vs. marital property

According to Forbes, division of assets and property can be somewhat complex, as many couples have a variety of different investments. These include life insurance policies, pensions, stock options and retirement plans, in addition to property, possessions and vehicles. Some people receive workers' compensation, social security or disability benefits as well. All of these items are considered marital property and are eligible for dispersion upon the dissolution of a marriage.

Yet, there are some assets and items that may be exempt from distribution. Forbes explains how separate property can include an inheritance received by either spouse before, during or after the marriage, any items that were exclusively owned by one spouse prior to the marriage and gifts given to either spouse by a third-party.

Divorcing couples must keep in mind that if separate property is mixed in with marital property than it may lose its separate status and become eligible for distribution. For example, if inheritance money that is given to one spouse is put into a bank account that is shared with the other spouse, the money then becomes marital assets. Likewise, if property is owned by one spouse who then adds the other spouse's name to the title, it is considered marital property as well.

Seeking legal assistance

It can be difficult to make clear and conscious decisions regarding your financial future and wellbeing when you are flooded with various emotions while going through a divorce. An attorney can be extremely helpful in assisting you during the divorce process, and will ensure that you make the best choices for you and your family.

Keywords: divorce, property, division