Property division is an inevitable component of divorce, and every state decides how to handle it.
The first step in dividing marital property is to identify assets and debts belonging to both spouses.
What is marital property in Maryland?
Marital property refers to anything asset or debt acquired during the marriage. It can include property with only one spouse listed as the owner. Common examples include the following:
- Real estate, including the family home and rental property
- Shares in a family business
- Vehicles, including boats and recreational automobiles
- Bank, brokerage and investment accounts
Debts collected during the marriage are also typically marital property and subject to division as well.
How do the courts divide marital property?
Maryland is an equitable distribution state, meaning the court does not have to divide marital property evenly. Instead, the court will review the assets and debts, consider several factors and divide them in a way that is fair under the circumstances. Typically, this will result in something close to equal.
The first step is to determine whether every asset is marital, separate or for family use. Then, the court will assess the property’s value and determine how to divide it based on Maryland’s fairness principles, including the monetary contributions made by each spouse and how long the marriage lasted.
Long-term marriages that are asset-heavy generally take longer to conclude, especially if the spouses cannot agree on how to divide the property. If a prenuptial agreement is in place, the court will follow it as long as the terms abide by state law.