Property division is at the forefront of many Maryland divorce cases, and it can be one of the most complicated aspects of the process. The laws may seem straightforward, since you are simply splitting assets or the proceeds from selling them. However, many parties soon come to realize that there is much more to the property distribution issue. Addressing such assets as the family home, retirement accounts, interests in a business, and life insurance policies are far more complex than dealing with bank accounts, vehicles, and personal items.
As a result, it is wise to trust your Maryland divorce lawyer to explain the laws, advise you on your options, and tackle the legal details. You might also review a few general concepts to help you understand the basics of property division.
- The line between marital and separate assets can be blurry. Only marital assets are subject to the property division process in Maryland, so items acquired before the marriage likely will not be divided as a part of the divorce. It can be surprisingly difficult to establish the line between marital and separate with certain items. Examples include life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and ownership of a business you contributed to during the marriage which were founded before the wedding date.
- Maryland law allows parties to agree on division of property. There is no requirement that a judge decide how you distribute marital assets, as the statute allows a court to grant a divorce by mutual consent. For many parties, an agreement on property division is preferred over going to court. You have more control over the process rather than having a judge apply rigid divorce laws to the facts of your case.
- Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean equal. If the court is called upon to decide the issue, Maryland’s property division statute requires an equitable distribution of marital assets. This does not require an exact 50-50 split, since the intent of the law is to promote fairness and balance between the divorcing parties. One person may end up with a higher percentage of the marital estate for many reasons such as the respective financial circumstances of the each of the parties or due to the type of asset being addressed and whether it is capable of producing income.
- Asset division may affect alimony. Though spousal support is a separate consideration, equitable distribution of property may affect spousal support. If a court determines that alimony is appropriate, the judge will apply certain statutory factors when determining the type, amount, and duration. Asset division is a consideration, since one party may require more or less support based upon what property he or she will retain.
Count on Your Maryland Divorce Attorney to Handle Property Division Issues
This overview should be informative on the general concepts of property division, but it should also convince you that retaining knowledgeable legal counsel is crucial. Our divorce lawyers at The McKeon Law Firm are prepared to protect your interests and ensure asset distribution is fair. For more information on our legal services, please contact our offices in Gaithersburg or Bethesda, MD. You can call 301-417-9222 or 202-742-1800 to set up a consultation with a member of our team.