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How marital property is established and divided during divorce

| Jul 2, 2021 | Asset Division |

Each state has different rules for establishing and distributing marital property. In Maryland, courts consider marital, non-marital and commingled properties during the division of property process in a divorce.

Establishing marital and non-marital property

Maryland courts consider any property acquired during the life of the marriage to be marital property. This can include the home bought by the spouses, any vehicles, furniture and other items such as household effects and jewelry. It can also include accounts opened during the marriage as well as stocks and retirement or pension accounts. Meanwhile, non-marital property refers to any property acquired before the marriage as well as inheritances and gifts received by one spouse during the marriage.

Commingled property is more complicated

Commingled property is defined as property that has used both marital and non-marital funds. One example of this is a house bought before marriage by one person, but its mortgage and upkeep costs paid by marital funds. Retirement and pension accounts opened before marriage, with contributions continued after the wedding can also be considered commingled property.

Dividing the different types of property

As an equitable distribution state, during divorce, courts in Maryland divide property in what is considered a fair manner, not necessarily in an equal manner. Even if the spouses negotiate their agreement, the courts will still look at what is considered fair. The way the court divides property includes:
• Valuing the property and then ordering one spouse to pay the other spouse for their part of the property
• Ordering the spouses to sell a family home, for example, and then split the proceeds from the sale between the two
• Looking at commingled property and then dividing the part of the property that is considered marital property in a fair manner

The division of property during divorce can be a complex process. Consulting a lawyer during the process for guidance might be beneficial to protect your interests.

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