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The family home as part of the marital property

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Many of our married Maryland readers may know that property obtained during the marriage is known as "marital property." This property could include bank accounts, artwork or even retirement accounts. For many couples, the assets they obtain together are meant to support them and sustain them throughout their lives. In a divorce, however, these assets will be subject to property division in the absence of a prenuptial agreement.

Although contentious divorce litigation is more and more commonly seen as something to avoid by divorcing couples and their attorneys alike, unfortunately litigation may be the only path for some people. Issues that inevitably come up in a divorce for many couples, such as deciding child custody, child support and asset division, all have the potential to inspire strong emotional reactions. And, for millions of married couples throughout the country, the most significant asset at issue is the family home.

A house can be more than just a building on which someone pays a mortgage payment every month. There can be sentimental value as well, or perhaps the house has been the one and only home for the divorcing couple's children. When it comes to deciding the fate of the house, oftentimes there is more at stake than a simple valuation of it as an asset.

A recent article pointed out an interesting fact when it comes to a mortgage which is signed by both of the divorcing individuals: just because a court awards the home to one over the other doesn't mean that only one name remains on the mortgage. Both individuals will still be responsible for the debt, unless an alternate solution is reached with the mortgage lender.

Whatever the property involved, reaching an equitable division is sometimes easier said than done. Staying in the right frame of mind, as well as knowing all of the options to press your case, can be the best approach to this difficult issue.

Source: SummitDaily.com, "Financial Facts: How divorce affects your mortgage," Bob Kieber, April 13, 2013

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