The process of ending a Maryland marriage can be time-consuming and stressful. Property division is a particularly troublesome phase of a divorce because the decisions made during this process can have a lasting impact on the lives of both parties. It is imperative that spouses take the time to look closely at every aspect of their marital wealth, and that no stone is left unturned during property division. Leaving money on the table can result in an unfair division of wealth.

In many cases, spouses are not aware of the full range of marital assets and overlook important accounts. An example lies in income that one’s partner earns prior to the divorce filing but will receive after that date. Employee bonuses fall into that category, as do retirement contributions. These assets should be included within property division negotiations.

Another example of money that is easily overlooked involves future interests. These include stock options and business interests. These types of assets can hold considerable value, but that value is not immediately accessible. Determining the exact worth of future interests can be tricky, but here again it is important to factor these issues into the larger property division discussion.

The only way to ensure that all assets are divided fairly between two divorcing spouses is to begin with a comprehensive list of all sources of marital wealth. It is not uncommon for assets held in future income or future interests to be overlooked during a divorce. This, however, can lead to a scenario in which one spouse is able to retain a greater portion of wealth than the other, which is an outcome that no Maryland spouse intends.

Source: CNBC, “Breaking up is hard to do: Protecting assets in divorce“, Kelli B. Grant, Jan. 17, 2016