If your marriage is headed for divorce, one of the things that you will have to deal with is the division of property. Understanding the marital property laws in Maryland can help you prepare for the negotiations that might take place as you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse begin to go your separate ways.
Looking at marital versus separate property
There are two types of property when it comes to the process of the division of property. Separate property includes any asset owned by each person before they got married. It also includes some assets acquired after marriage, such as an inheritance, individual gifts and assets bought from an inheritance. Marital property includes most property bought after the marriage began, even if the title of the asset is only in one spouse’s name. It can also include part of a property that has become commingled, such as the increase in value of a home bought by one spouse before marriage but improved upon with marital money during the marriage. During a divorce, separate property is not divided as each person keeps their separate property. However, marital property is divided between the spouses.
How is marital property divided?
Since Maryland is not a community property state, in which all marital property must be divided equally, marital property must be divided fairly. A fair division of marital property can include:
- A mostly equal division of the property
- A different division of the property based on a variety of factors, including the income-earning capacity of each spouse
- A division of property negotiated by the spouses
The division of property can be set by the court or it can be negotiated by the spouses. If the spouses work together to reach a settlement agreement, they must then submit this to the court for approval. If the court deems it fair, it will accept the settlement agreement as part of the divorce decree.