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Understanding property division during your divorce

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Family Law

Divorce can be a challenging journey filled with emotional and logistical hurdles. One of the most common concerns couples face is dividing their property fairly. In Maryland, property division is based on equitable distribution. This means the court aims for a fair split and not necessarily a 50-50 one.

What’s considered marital property?

All property acquired during marriage is marital property, regardless of who purchased it or whose name is on the title. This includes:

  • Real estate, including your home
  • Vehicles
  • Bank accounts
  • Pension and retirement savings
  • Stock and other investments

You should note that any property one spouse receives as an inheritance, a gift or anything excluded by a valid agreement is not marital property.

What’s considered non-marital property?

Any property acquired before the marriage is considered separate property by the court. For instance, personal inheritances are separate from marital accounts. However, there are some instances where separate property count as marital property. A good example is if you and your ex-spouse renovated an inherited house using marital funds.

The equitable distribution process

The first step in property division is to gather information about all your assets and debts. This includes appraisals of real estate, bank account statements, and retirement plan valuations.

After identifying the marital estate, the court considers several factors to determine an equitable split. These include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The contributions of each spouse, both monetary and non-monetary
  • The needs of each spouse after the divorce, especially if there are children involved
  • The tax implications of dividing certain assets

Divorce is a complex process and property division takes work. You may consider coordinating with your spouse to reach a mutually agreeable property division. A neutral third party can facilitate communication through mediation. An experienced professional also can guide you through the legal aspects and advocate for your rights and interests. Keep in mind that the goal is a fair outcome for both of you, even if it doesn’t feel equal.