If you are filing for divorce in Maryland, you need to fully understand how your marital property will be divided. The state uses equitable distribution to decide who gets what. That essentially means that there is no guarantee you will receive 50% of the assets that you and your former spouse acquired over the course of your marriage. While you can divide things through an agreement with your spouse, if you leave it to the court to choose, a judge might not make the same divisions.
Separate vs. Marital Property
In Maryland, there is a difference between separate property and marital property. Any property that you owned before your marriage will not be subject to division, as long as you did not change the title or paperwork. If you received property through an inheritance or as a gift at any point before your divorce, it will also not be eligible for division. However, everything that you received from the time that you married through the date of your divorce will be considered marital property, including your income. If your spouse has a car that is only in their name that was purchased during your marriage, it will be considered marital property.
What Is Equitable Distribution?
In the legal realm, equitable distribution means distribution that is considered to be fair and just. But how do judges in Maryland decide what is fair? That’s where having a skilled lawyer on your side is so critical. Judges will base their calculations based on a variety of factors. For example, if one spouse earns twice as much as another, the judge may conclude that the spouse earning more funded 2/3 of joint assets. As a result, the judge could conclude that a 2/3 division for them and a 1/3 division for the other spouse is fair and just.
Household labor can also be factored into marital property distribution. In the example above, if the spouse earning 1/3 of the income spent their days at home to care for a family, the distribution might then be tilted to a more equitable 50/50 divide. A judge will also consider any problems that led to the divorce, like infidelity, when choosing how to divide property. For example, if the spouse earning 2/3 of the income had an affair that directly led to the divorce, how would it be fair or just for the other spouse to be penalized as a result?
Help with Divorce from Alan L. Billian, P.A.
At Alan L. Billian, P.A., we are dedicated to offering every client personal attention and utilizing our years of experience to tackle unique legal challenges. Our team always aims to support each client and minimize the emotional burden and stress, even during intense family law cases. To learn more about our services and tell us more about your legal issues, please contact us today for a complimentary email, phone or 30-minute office consultation.