Maryland Property Division – Determination, Valuation, Award
Property division usually represents an important aspect of the divorce or annulment process under Maryland family law. During this process, a married couple must split up their marital property amongst themselves.
Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-201, property is considered “marital” if it was acquired during the marriage. Though marital property does not include anything acquired by third-party gift or inheritance. Furthermore, married couples may execute valid agreements to exclude certain things from the definition of marital property.
Returning to the topic at hand, property division typically involves a three-step process in Maryland: (1) Determine what qualifies; (2) Calculate the value; and (3) Divide the property.
- Determine What Qualifies as Marital Property
The determination process for marital property appears under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-203. During any proceeding for divorce or annulment, the Maryland courts will determine what qualifies as marital property:
- Upon granting the divorce or annulment; or
- Within 90 days of granting the divorce or annulment, if the court expressly reserves such power; or
- Beyond 90 days of granting the divorce or annulment, if the court reserves such power and extends the timeline as well as the parties consent.
- Calculate the Value of Marital Property
The valuation process for marital property appears under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-204. During any proceeding for divorce or annulment, the Maryland courts will calculate the value of marital property.
Generally speaking, the Maryland courts do not assess the value of any pension or deferred-compensation plan. But if either party objects to a distribution of such benefits — and provides adequate notice — they can present evidence of the appropriate value.
- Dividing the Marital Property
After determining what qualifies as marital property and calculating the value, the Maryland courts may:
- Transfer ownership of an interest in property;
- Grant a monetary award; or
- Engage in both of the actions above.
Before transferring ownership or granting a monetary award, the Maryland courts must consider factors that include but are not limited to the:
- Contributions of each party to the family’s well-being;
- Value of property interests in each party’s possession;
- Economic circumstances of each party;
- Age and physical/mental condition of each party;
- Duration of the marriage;
- Reasons why the marriage ended; and
- Any other factor(s) necessary to reach a fair/equitable resolution.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you need legal assistance with property division in Maryland, it can be demonstrably useful to contact an accomplished Bel Air property division attorney. The attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including property division. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.