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What Is The Maryland Difference Between Marital & Non-Marital Property?


When a married couple decides to pursue divorce under Maryland family law, property division can be one of the most difficult considerations. Each party gets to keep any non-marital property they acquired before marriage or through other approved methods. But the soon-to-be divorced parties must decide how to divvy up all of their marital property, such as their family home or other things acquired during the marriage.

What is the Maryland Definition of Non-Marital Property?

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-201 defines what qualifies as non-marital property. Under this section, non-marital property refers to any property:

  • Acquired before the parties got married;
  • Obtained via inheritance or third-party gift;
  • Excluded from marital property by valid agreement; or
  • Directly traceable to any of the sources above.

From the standpoint of divorce under Maryland law, non-marital property is excluded from the process of property division.

What is the Maryland Definition of Marital Property? 

Section 8-201 also defines what qualifies as marital property. Under this section, martial property refers to any:

  • Property acquired by either or both parties during the marriage, regardless of how such property is titled; or
  • Interest in real property held by the parties as tenants by the entirety, unless such real property was excluded by valid agreement.

Marital property can include the family home where the parties lived together during marriage. Marital property can also include any family use personal property, which the parties used principally for family purposes.

How Does Maryland Separate Marital & Non-Marital Property?

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-203 outlines the separation process for marital and non-marital property. Under this section, the state courts typically determine what qualifies as marital property during a divorce or annulment proceeding. In granting such a divorce or annulment, the order usually determines what qualifies as marital property.

There are circumstances under which the Maryland courts separate marital property after divorce or annulment. But the state courts must reserve the ability to make such a determination when granting the divorce or annulment in question.

How Does Maryland Determine the Value of Marital Property?

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-204 describes the valuation process for marital property. Under this section, the state courts are responsible for determining the value of any marital property involved. In other words, the Maryland courts first separate non-marital from marital property. Then the courts determine the value of marital property and can proceed with dividing it up amongst the parties in an equitable fashion.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you need legal assistance with divorce or property division, a Bel Air divorce attorney can help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered for a consultation on your case.

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