During divorce, many couples wish to know what is at stake in terms of their property, both real and personal. Maryland is an equitable distribution state, meaning that property is not divided equally in every situation. However, the court will make a “fair” decision, and typically both spouses receive an equal share of the property. If you are going through divorce, do not hesitate to contact an attorney at once to discuss the possibilities that lie ahead.
Non Marital Property Vs. Marital Property
Before marriage, all of your personal belongings were your own property, correct? The same is actually true during marriage, and through the divorce process, as well. All of your belongings, property, the money you had in your bank account, and also any debts you had before the marriage are all non marital property. Additionally, any gifts or inheritance that you received during marriage remain your own non marital property, unless the gift or inheritance were specifically given to both spouses. During marriage, and after divorce, all non marital property is protected from the other party’s debts. This means that a creditor cannot make a claim to the other spouse’s non marital property unless that spouse is also a borrower of that creditor. Marital property, on the other hand, is all property that was acquired during marriage. It does not matter who paid for the property or who earned it. This includes the following:
- Furniture and household appliances;
- Real estate;
- Bank accounts;
- Retirement pensions;
- Automobiles; and
- All other property.
While marital property is owned by both spouses, it cannot be sold by one spouse without the consent of the other.
How the Court Decides Who Gets What
Upon figuring out what property is marital property, the court will make an equitable distribution of that property, basing its decision on the following criteria:
- Value of property interests of each spouse;
- Current economic circumstances of each spouse;
- Financial and non-financial contributions to the family’s well-being that each spouse made;
- Factors that lead the marriage to end in divorce;
- Length of marriage;
- Age and condition of each party;
- Time frame and the effort put into acquiring certain marital property;
- Other provisions or awards granted by the court; and
- Other factors that the court deems relevant to the decision.
Contact Maryland Marital Property Division Attorney Tara K. Frame Today
Divorce is a complicated process in Maryland, and many couples enter the process without knowing all of the details. For instance, unless you qualify for a “mutual consent” divorce, a new ground for divorce in Maryland as of October 1, 2015, or one of the other fault based grounds for divorce, you must be separated for at least one year in order to file for divorce, and in that time you cannot spend a night under the same roof or have sexual relations, according to Maryland Courts. Working with an experienced attorney can help you avoid headaches down the road and ensure that you walk away from the marriage with your fair share of the marital property. Call the experienced Pasadena, Maryland attorneys of Frame & Frame today at 410-255-0373 for assistance.