What are the Maryland Laws for Splitting Up Marital Property?
During the process of completing a Maryland divorce, the spouses must consider how to split up their marital property. Property division can be an incredibly difficult process, as the spouses have to tear apart many aspects of their lives. In many cases, there is also the issue of possession and use of the family home, meaning that one spouse will likely move out. In order to ensure a fair and balanced approach to the property division process, Maryland law imposes a number of relevant considerations.
Definition of Marital Property
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-201 establishes the definition of marital property. This term includes any property either spouse acquired during the course of their marriage, even if the property is only in the name of one spouse. Marital property also includes any joint interests in real property that the spouses hold together.
On the other hand, Section 8-201 also excludes certain property from the definition of marital property. In exact terms, the term marital property does not apply to any property that was:
- Obtained before marriage;
- Received as a gift or inheritance; or
- Excluded by a valid contract.
Award of Marital Property
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-205 details the process for awarding marital property to either spouse. The Maryland courts may grant an award of marital property despite the existence of alimony or similar spousal support payments.
First, a Maryland court has to determine what counts as marital property and how much it is worth. Second, a Maryland court can grant a monetary award to either spouse or transfer an interest in:
- A pension, retirement, profit-sharing, or deferred-compensation plan;
- The family home; or
- Any family use personal property.
Before granting a monetary award or transferring any ownership interests, Section 8-205 imposes a fairness requirement on the Maryland courts. Specifically, the state courts must evaluate the following factors:
- Monetary contributions each spouse made for family well-being;
- Non-monetary contributions each spouse made for family well-being;
- Value of property interests in each spouse’s name;
- Economic realities of each spouse at the time of divorce;
- Reasons for which the spouses are getting divorced;
- Length of time the spouses were married;
- Age of each spouse;
- Physical and mentality condition of each spouse;
- Contributions of each spouse toward purchase of marital property;
- Efforts by each spouse toward acquisition of interest in real property;
- Award of alimony or similar spousal support, if any;
- Orders concerning the family home or family use personal property; and
- Other relevant factors that are necessary to make a fair and balanced award.
Before splitting up marital property — such as granting a monetary award or transferring any ownership interests — the Maryland state courts must consider each of the factors listed above.
Let Us Help You Today
If you have legal questions about property division during a Maryland divorce, it can be distinctly fruitful to consult with an ardent family law attorney. The Bel Air divorce attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including property division during a divorce. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.