Maryland Marital Property Lawyer
Every marriage is different, and that means that the amount and types of assets acquired during the marriage will vary. When there is a pending divorce, part of the process involves separating out marital property and debts before the judge will enter the final divorce decree. Some couples are able to amicably work out how to separate their marital property, while other divorces wind up going through courtroom litigation with the judge deciding how to divide assets and debts.
A Maryland marital property lawyer can sit down with you and explain what marital assets and separate assets are. At Henault & Sysko Chartered, we explain how the divorce process works, and sit down with clients to help assess what assets may be divided during the divorce. Let us help protect your rights and ensure you get a fair and equitable settlement.
What is Considered Marital Property in Maryland?
Not everything you own will be subject to a division in your divorce. Marital property is any asset that belongs to both spouses rather than an individual spouse, which would be separate property. Marital property typically involves real property like a residential home, land, vacation property, etc., unless there is a valid written agreement that states otherwise. Any property that was acquired during the marriage can also be deemed marital property, unless it was gifted to one spouse or was an inheritance from another party.
Most property acquired prior to marriage will be considered separate property unless the assets are commingled, making it part of the marital property estate.
Maryland Laws on Marital Property Division
Maryland is what’s known as an equitable property state. This means that marital property and debts are divided in a manner that is fair and equitable. This differs from a community property state where assets are divided 50/50. The courts look at a variety of factors and circumstances before rendering a decision. Some of the factors that a judge might consider include:
- What each party contributed to the marriage — this includes financial and non-financial contributions;
- How each party contributed to the marriage breaking apart;
- The financial resources of each partner;
- How long the marriage lasted;
- What the age and health condition is of each spouse; and
- When and how property was acquired, in order to determine whether it’s separate or marital property.
Dividing marital property can be a difficult process, even when the divorce isn’t entirely contentious. Fluctuations in the real estate market can make valuations difficult. If you have a business to be divided, you need an expert who can weigh in on an accurate evaluation.
A lot of people don’t think about retirement accounts when going through a divorce, but in some cases, these can be the most valuable assets a couple has. If either of you have pension plans for 401(k) accounts, they will need to be divided using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. Your Maryland divorce attorney will discuss all the amounts and assets that are subject to distribution.
Contact a Maryland Divorce Lawyer
If you need assistance with determining marital property in your divorce and/or drafting a property settlement agreement, contact Henault & Sysko Chartered today to schedule an initial consultation. Let our skilled attorneys help with all your family law needs.