What Constitutes Marital Property in Maryland?
Divorce isn’t just the end of a love story; it’s the beginning of a new chapter filled with financial equations and property divisions. In Maryland, where the Chesapeake Bay sunsets are as intricate as its property division laws, understanding ‘marital property’ can feel like deciphering a code.
Walking through a divorce involves addressing several key concerns, and one of the prominent ones is the division of property. You might find yourself asking: What is considered marital property in Maryland? How will it be divided? We’re here to shed light on these pivotal questions.
Defining Marital Property in Glen Burnie, Maryland
Marital property, in simple terms, pertains to all assets that both spouses acquired during the tenure of their marriage. This can range from the house you both lived in, vehicles, to even the smallest household appliances. However, not all properties are labeled ‘marital’. For instance, Maryland does not classify the following as marital property:
- Items one spouse acquired prior to the marriage.
- Gifts or inheritances given solely to one partner.
- Assets purchased using funds considered nonmarital.
- Property excluded by a valid agreement.
Division Approach in Maryland: Equitable Distribution
Here in Maryland, the principle that guides property division in divorce scenarios is ‘equitable distribution’. This principle aims for a fair, though not necessarily equal, distribution of marital assets. While some might think a 50/50 split sounds just, Maryland courts may decide differently based on various factors.
Determinants of Marital Property Division
There are various aspects the court weighs when dividing marital property:
- Financial and Non-Financial Contributions: Contributions made by each spouse, both financially and otherwise non-financial (like homemaking), are taken into account.
- Economic Circumstances: The financial standing and future prospects of both partners can influence the distribution.
- Duration of the Marriage: How long you were married can impact the division. A shorter marriage might see assets returned to their original owners, while longer unions might warrant a more intricate division.
- Why the Marriage Ended: Surprisingly, reasons for the divorce, especially if there’s misconduct like infidelity, can sometimes play a role in how assets are divided.
Agreeing Outside of Court in Maryland
Choosing the route of an amicable settlement can often be the most constructive approach for many couples in Maryland. This path not only saves time but can also spare both parties from the emotional strain and financial costs that court battles often entail.
The central document guiding this process is the Marital Settlement Agreement (sometimes referred to as a “MSA”). An MSA is a comprehensive written agreement where you and your spouse detail how you wish to divide and distribute all marital assets. Whether it’s the family home, bank accounts, or even a shared businesses, everything is accounted for.
What’s more, an out-of-court settlement allows you both a degree of flexibility courts might not offer. Since the agreement is crafted mutually, you have the liberty to create terms that consider each partner’s unique needs and future plans. For instance, if one partner is particularly attached to a family heirlooma specific piece of property, they can negotiate other assets in exchange for retaining that specific item.
However, even in such amicable arrangements, it’s wise to have experienced legal counsel guiding you. They can ensure the MSA is fair, adheres to Maryland laws, and, most importantly, is enforceable. Remember, while the goal is to avoid court, the MSA still needs legal rigor to prevent potential disputes in the future.
How Jimeno & Gray, P.A. Advocates for You
The maze of property division can be daunting. As your trusted allies at Jimeno & Gray, P.A., our commitment is to shoulder this burden for you. We diligently analyze the specifics of your assets, ensuring a clear understanding of marital versus non-marital property. Drawing on our deep knowledge of Maryland’s equitable distribution laws, we strategize to advocate for the most favorable division for you. Beyond just the legalities, we offer compassionate guidance, understanding the emotional complexities tied to dividing assets. It’s not just about paperwork and court appearances for us; it’s about securing your financial future and offering you a smooth transition into the next chapter of your life.
How Professionals Can Make a Difference
When it comes to dividing assets in a divorce, the process can be emotionally draining and legally complex. But you don’t have to go through it alone. At Jimeno & Gray, P.A., we can guide you in understanding and navigating the division of marital property in your divorce. Reach out to us at 410-590-9401 to book a consultation today.
Meet Our Lawyers
Gregory P. Jimeno, Esquire
Frank C. Gray, Jr., Esquire.
Magaly Delisse Bittner, Esquire
Jessica McConnell, Esquire