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Marital Property Distribution in Maryland

Marital Property Distribu…

Inside the court room or at the negotiating table, if you are considering a divorce and you and your spouse have acquired property during the course of your marriage, you need legal representation in the area of marital property distribution. At Arn Family Law, we will guide you through this oftentimes complex area of family law, providing you with sound legal advice and access to trusted experts where necessary in such areas as financial planning and business, pension, or real estate valuations.

The Role of Maryland Courts in Dividing Marital Property

In an action for an Absolute Divorce, the court has authority to make divide marital property between spouses. The court engages in a three step process to equitably divide the marital estate between the parties:

  1. Determining what property is marital property. 
  2. Determining the value of each item of marital property.
  3. Dividing the value of the marital estate between the parties through one or more methods which may include making a monetary award, transferring an interest in retirement assets, transferring an interest in real property, or ordering the sale of real or personal property.

Complexities in Dividing Marital Property in Maryland

Marital property is defined as property acquired by either party during the marriage. Non-marital property is that property that was acquired prior to the marriage, by inheritance or gift from a third party, or property that is excluded by a valid agreement, such as a prenuptial agreement. Although this may sound quite simple, in actuality determining what is marital property and what is not may be quite complex, especially in cases where parties have combined non-marital property with marital property or have expended efforts during the marriage which cause an increase in value to a non-marital asset. In instances such as these, determining the value of a non-marital interest in an otherwise marital piece of property or vice versa requires legal expertise and possibly the assistance of outside experts.

Factors the Court Considers in How it Divides Marital Property

The proportionate share of the marital estate that each party receives will be determined by the court if the parties choose litigation to resolve this marital issue. Maryland law requires the court to consider the following factors in deciding how and in what proportions to divide the marital estate:

  1. The contribution, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family.
  2. The value of all property interests of each party.
  3. The economic circumstances of each party at the time the award is to be made.
  4. The circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties.
  5. The duration of the marriage.
  6. The age of each party.
  7. The physical and mental condition of each party.
  8. How and when specific marital property was acquired.
  9. Any award of alimony or award of use and possession of personal or real property made by the court.
  10. Any other factor the court considers necessary or appropriate to arrive at equitable distribution.

For more information about marital property distribution in Maryland and how we can help you, call Arn Family Law at (240) 345-2015, send an email to info@arnfamilylaw.com, or use our online contact form.

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