How is Property Division Decided in a Montgomery County Divorce?

One of the most critical questions in a Maryland divorce is how property is divided. It is best to work out the property division questions together without involving the divorce court. However, if you cannot agree, you can submit your property dispute to the divorce court. It will use Maryland state law to determine the final property division.

Learn more in this article about how property is divided in a Maryland divorce. If you have additional questions, our Montgomery County divorce attorneys at Shah & Kishore would be pleased to help you.

Maryland Is An Equitable Property State

In divorce, Maryland has an equitable property rule. It means all marital property that was acquired during the marriage will be divided equitably. This does not mean 50/50, but it can. Any property owned by either spouse will be assumed to be marital property unless you show it is separate.

The Montgomery County divorce court will award each partner a percentage of the marital estate based on various factors. It is illegal for either spouse to try to hide property during a divorce to protect them from division. 

The Difference Between Marital And Non-Marital Property

A critical question in a Montgomery County divorce is what marital and non-marital property is. The general rules in Maryland are as follows:

Marital property consists of all earnings during the marriage, and everything bought with those funds. It also includes all debts incurred during the marriage 

Non-marital property of each spouse includes inheritances and gifts to each party. Also considered non-marital property is a vested pension before the marriage. Property that was bought when one spouse’s funds are separate property. If you owned a business before the marriage, it is your property after the divorce in most cases. But part of it might be considered marital property if the business value rose during the union or if both parties worked in it.

Property acquired with both marital and non-marital funds is partially marital and partially non-marital. But if non-marital property is comingled with marital property, it becomes marital property for divorce purposes.

What About The Marital Home?

If you have minor children, the parent who spends the most time with them will usually stay home. If you do not have kids and the house is your separate property, you can ask your spouse to vacate.

It is complicated if you do not have children and the house is jointly owned. Neither has the right to tell the other to leave. You can ask your spouse to vacate, but it is not required. The only way you can legally get your spouse to leave is if there has been domestic violence and a restraining order is in effect. In these complex situations, the home may have to be sold, and the funds split according to the equitable property division rule.

How Important Is The Length Of The Marriage To Divide Property?

It is important. The length of the marriage is a vital factor that the court must consider when dividing marital property. For instance, the nonmonetary contributions of one spouse will not make a big a major factor in a short marriage of let’s say two years. But in a 20-year marriage, it is a different story. You could be entitled to a larger percentage of marital property if you were a homemaker during a long marriage.

Common Montgomery County Property Division Questions

There are many other important property division questions to address. Below are some common questions. If you have specific questions about property division in Maryland, contact our Montgomery County property division attorneys:

Will I Lose The Home If I Cheated On My Spouse?

If you own the house jointly with your spouse, the divorce court cannot alter the property title. When jointly owned, the home cannot be given to one or the other. However, the court can consider why the divorce occurred when making property division decisions. It does not mean that you will necessarily lose your interest in the home if you are unfaithful though. Adultery can be considered in the property division process, but it is not the only factor.

Will The Court Consider Nonmonetary Contributions To The Marriage?

Yes. The law requires the judge deciding on property division to consider a spouse’s nonmonetary contributions to the marriage. This means the judge usually considers the labor value when one spouse stays home with the children. It also includes doing household chores, cooking, childcare, and generally supporting the other spouse’s career. Therefore, if you made considerable nonmonetary contributions during your marriage, giving you a larger share of the marital property in the divorce is possible. 

Will A Prenuptial Agreement Affect Maryland Property Division?

If the court considers the prenup value and there is a property division agreement, it may take precedence over the state’s property division laws. The prenuptial agreement also may determine how finances will be divided if a divorce occurs. Therefore, if you have a prenuptial agreement, it is critical to have it reviewed by your divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Contact Our Montgomery County Divorce Lawyers Today

Property division is one of the most stressful aspects of many divorces. Work with one of our Montgomery County divorce attorneys to give you peace of mind during the property division process. Contact our Montgomery County divorce attorneys at Shah & Kishore today at (301) 315-0001.

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