Montgomery and Howard County Attorneys Explain How Assets Are Divided in a Maryland Divorce
Helping spouses get their fair share of marital assets in Bethesda, Columbia, Fulton and Rockville
When couples divorce, the home and marital assets need to be divided. The assets typically include a home, cars, bank accounts, furniture and personal possessions. A spouse can also have a marital interest in stocks, pensions, annuities and other benefits of another spouse. Maryland does not automatically divide these assets on a 50-50 basis. The division of property must be equitable, which does not necessarily mean equal.
At McCabe Russell, PA, our Howard and Montgomery County asset division attorneys understand how important it is for you to be on sound financial footing after a divorce. We explain that once an agreement or order is made about how the marital property is divided, there is no going back and asking for more absent exceptional circumstances. Our team of lawyers and support staff use our experience and financial experts to properly identify and value all marital property. We then negotiate or litigate a just and fair distribution of these assets. From our offices in Fulton, Columbia, Bethesda and Rockville, we help divorcing couples equitably divide their assets.
What is marital property?
Marital property is a legal term. It refers to property, or interest in property, that the parties acquired during the marriage — no matter how the property is titled. The value of property that a spouse owned before the marriage should belong to that spouse, though any increase in value during the course of the marriage would be divided between the spouses, and the property may be divided if both spouses contributed to its upkeep. Our Maryland divorce lawyers work to:
- Identify all marital property
- Value any property acquired before or during the marriage, including real property and retirement assets
- Value all property at the time of the legal separation or divorce
In what proportion is property divided?
In a perfect world, all assets and debts would be split 50-50 between divorcing couples. The reality is, equitable division is rarely equal division, and one party may end up shouldering more of a burden than he or she feels is just. The court is entitled to consider the following factors, which may shift the percentages, so to speak, of who retains what:
- The length of the marriage
- The age of the spouses
- The health of the spouses
- How the assets were acquired
- Whether any of the marital property can be traced to separate property
- The economic circumstances of the spouses, including non-marital property
- What each spouse contributed in the way of cash, support of the other spouse, household chores, raising the children, etc.
- Any marital misconduct
- Whether there is an award of alimony
Spouses who stay at home and take care of the children are entitled to have their work within the household considered.
How is property divided?
Once the assets are identified, valued, and an agreement or decision is made on the proportional division of the property, then the remaining task is to actually divide the property. In many cases, we work to save assets, such as homes and cars, instead of selling them. Often, some assets can be traded off for other assets. For example, a spouse who wants to keep the marital home may waive part of her/his interest in a pension plan.
Our experienced Montgomery and Howard County asset distribution lawyers are skilled in negotiating fair asset division agreements so that our clients can keep items and property of value to them. Agreements are often reached through mediation and collaborative divorce when direct negotiation does not work. Our lawyers are also aggressive litigators who understand how to present financial documents and examine witnesses in court, should the need arise.
Speak with a Howard and Montgomery County asset division lawyer today
At McCabe Russell, PA, we first work to identify all marital assets. We then work with you to understand your priorities — which items you most want to keep. We explain all your options and work to reach an agreement or to obtain a court order that is fair and just. We are experienced at finding undisclosed assets, as well as the most visible assets. To speak with a strong attorney, please phone us at 443-917-3347 or fill out our contact form. We have offices in Fulton, Columbia, Bethesda and Rockville.
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