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4 Types of Assets under Maryland Property Division Rules

Division

When a married couple gets divorced in Maryland, there is a system of rules and guidelines in place to determine property division between the spouses. Unlike many U.S. jurisdictions, Maryland does not adhere to community property rules, where the former spouses split all marital assets down the middle. This type of 50-50 split is a simple way to divide up marital property. But it does not account for differences in circumstances between the divorcing spouses.

Under Maryland law, the courts are responsible for ensuring an equitable distribution of marital property. Imbalances between the divorcing spouses — such as earning capacity or other economic disparities— can affect the division of marital property. Above all else, the Maryland courts must ensure that property division is fair and equitable, providing both spouses with an opportunity to survive after the divorce.

In order to isolate an equitable distribution of property, the Maryland courts examine four types of property: Marital Property, Non-Marital Property, Family Use Personal Property and the Family Home.

  1. Marital Property

The definition of marital property emerges in Maryland Family Law Code Section 8-201.  Specifically, marital property includes any:

  • Property obtained by either spouse during marriage; and
  • Interest in real property held by both spouses as tenants by the entireties.
  1. Non-Marital Property

Section 8-201 also excludes certain property from the definition of marital property. This non-marital property includes any property that:

  • Either spouse fully acquired before their marriage;
  • Either spouse fully acquired via inheritance or gift; or
  • Both spouses agreed to exclude from their marital property; or
  • Directly traceable to any of these sources.
  1. Family Use Personal Property

The definition of family use personal property appears in Section 8-201. Family use personal property applies to any tangible personal property that:

  • Either spouse acquired during their marriage;
  • At least one spouse has under current ownership; and
  • Is used primarily for family support purposes.

Section 8-201 includes the following types of property in the definition of family use personal property:

  • Cars, trucks and other motor vehicles;
  • Furniture and fixtures; and
  • Household appliances.

Section 8-201 also excludes certain types of property from the definition of family use personal property. Family use personal property does not apply to property that:

  • Either spouse acquired via inheritance or gift; or
  • Both spouses agreed to exclude from marital property.
  1. Family Home

The definition of a family home appears in Section 8-201. A family home is a property that:

  • Both spouses lived in together as their principal residence;
  • At least one spouse has under current ownership or lease; and
  • At least one spouse and at least one child of the parties will occupy as their principal residence after divorce.

Section 8-201 also excludes certain types of property from the definition of family home, including property that:

  • Either spouse acquired before their marriage;
  • Either spouse acquired via inheritance or gift; or
  • Both spouses agreed to exclude from determination as a family home.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you need legal help with property division in Maryland, it can be tremendously constructive to contact a steadfast family law attorney. Based in Bel Air, Maryland, the attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have the experience needed to assist you today.

Resource:

mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmStatutesText.aspx?article=gfl&section=8-201&ext=html&session=2017RS&tab=subject5

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