Most people have heard the saying “All’s fair in love and war.” While those who have been through a divorce may have experienced both love and war, very few will say that they got their fair share. However, there are some states – including Maryland – that focus on equitable distribution in a divorce. This means that while the assets may not be evenly divided, they will be split fairly.
In order for equitable property division to exist, it is important to first perform an inventory of all marital assets and determine their value. This includes not only bank accounts, homes, property, cars and heirlooms, but also intangible assets, such as stocks, bonds, 401(k)s and retirement accounts. If either spouse owns a company, business assets will also need to be divided. Anything acquired before the marriage remains the property of each individual spouse and will not be split in the divorce.
The next step is for each spouse to generate a personal valuation. A valuation includes the person’s age, income, general health, length of marriage, expected financial situation after the divorce and contributions made during the marriage. This statement basically shows the value – monetary or otherwise – that each spouse put into the marriage. For example, the wife may have stayed home and raised the children while emotionally supporting her husband’s business venture. While she did not earn any income, her contributions allowed her husband to earn income. This will be taken into consideration during the divorce.
Sometimes complicated issues will arise during the asset division stage. Some spouses are not willing to part with certain assets and will take drastic measures to hide these assets. This and other concerns is why Maryland residents need to educate themselves on divorce law in our state.
Source: FindLaw, “Maryland divorce: Dividing marital property guidelines,” Accessed Aug. 9, 2014