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How Are Property And Debts Divided During A Maryland Divorce?


One of the key aspects of a Maryland divorce is the division of property and debts that were acquired during the marriage. Maryland is considered an equitable distribution state which means that property is divided between the spouses in a manner that is considered equitable to both parties. That does not necessarily mean that the property is divided equally. In some cases, it will mean that property is divided equally. In this article, the Maryland divorce attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson will discuss property division in a Maryland divorce.

What is considered marital property? 

Generally speaking, marital property is considered any income or asset that was acquired during the marriage. This includes income acquired during the marriage and anything that was acquired with that income. This also includes debts acquired during the marriage that are directly attributable to marital property (eg, the mortgage on the family home).

Non-marital property or separate property includes property that was acquired before the marriage. It also includes gifts, inheritances, some personal injury awards, and pensions that vested before the marriage. Property that was purchased with separate funds remains the property of the spouse who purchased it. Businesses that were brought into the marriage remain the property of the spouse who owned the business. However, if the business accrued value during the marriage, the accrued value may be considered marital property.

Assets that were acquired with a mix of marital and non-marital funds are generally considered marital property.

What is equitable distribution in Maryland? 

Equitable distribution means that assets are divided fairly, not necessarily evenly. The courts will consider several key factors when dividing a marital estate. According to Family Law Article of the Maryland Code §8-205, there are 11 different factors that the court considers when dividing property during divorce.   The court also considers any award of alimony and may balance the division of property with the award of alimony.

The courts may also consider bad behavior during the marriage when dividing marital property. If one spouse had an affair and spent a significant amount of money on their paramour, the courts may award the other spouse a greater share of the marital estate. In other situations, a spouse may have dissipated marital assets by spending marital funds on frivolous activities such as gambling. If so, the courts will consider this when dividing the marital estate.

Talk to a Maryland Property Division Attorney Today 

Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered represents the interests of Maryland couples who are dividing their assets during divorce. We can help couples reach an agreement on the fair distribution of their property or advocate on their behalf before a judge. Call our Bel Air family lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your concerns right away.

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