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How is marital property addressed in a Maryland divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2024 | FAMILY LAW - Family Law

Property division is a common point of contention in a Maryland divorce. Since couples will have acquired various items during their marriage, deciding how it will be split when they part ways can lead to disagreements and outright acrimony.

When assessing property, the couple needs to know what is categorized as marital property and how the law states it will be divided. This is particularly true in difficult cases where both sides want to retain a specific item or maximize its value.

Key points about marital property

If a property was acquired while the couple was married, it will be considered marital property. A couple that purchased a home, automobiles, furniture, collectibles, jewelry or anything else needs to know that it will belong to both in the eyes of the law. This is true from the time they were married until they divorce. Property accrued during a separation will remain marital property even if they are not together at the time.

Non-marital property is that which was acquired before the marriage. This is also referred to as separate property. A person who owned a home before the marriage will own it even if they lived in it after they were married. During the marriage, if one of the spouses received an inheritance, that will be separate property. Anything purchased with that inheritance will be separate property.

Disagreements can arise over commingled property that encompasses both marital and separate property. The example of a home that was owned before the marriage can show how this will be addressed. The property could have belonged to one spouse, but paying for it and making improvements may have been shared during the marriage. That will make it commingled leaving the court to decide how to come to a fair resolution.

Strive to reach a reasonable outcome with property division

In many instances, the sides are on friendly enough terms that they can negotiate about property division and work the lingering issues out on their own. In other cases, that is not possible. It is imperative to remember how marital property and separate property are categorized.

Some factors need to be understood such as pensions and retirement accounts being marital property. Since people can be worried about their finances and want to retain properties for myriad reasons, it is useful to be aware of the law and to prepare to reach effective solutions.