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What happens to your shared property in a Maryland divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2022 | Divorce |

Considering divorce is frightening. The average adult has little understanding of state law. Instead, it will be what they have seen in movies or stories they have heard from co-workers that inform their ideas about divorce.

Many people in Maryland have heard at least one story where someone loses all of their property because of an unfair divorce ruling. The idea that this could happen to you might make you feel trapped in your unsatisfying marriage.

Whether you have spent a lifetime working and acquiring property and don’t want to lose those assets or you are a dependent spouse with almost nothing in your name, it is natural to worry about what happens to your property when you divorce. Learning the laws in Maryland can help you feel more confident about the process.

Maryland has an equitable distribution law

Like the majority of other states, Maryland is an equitable distribution state. If you and your ex go to court to divide your property, a judge has to look at all of your assets and debts.

They also need to learn about different elements of your marriage, like how long it lasted and the unpaid contributions both of you made to the family. They then use all of that information to create an equitable or fair property order. Equitable division is often not equal but focuses instead on what each spouse needs and what they can provide.

Almost all of your income from during the marriage and all of your shared property will be subject to division. Only inherited assets and property owned before marriage, as well as gifts, may be exempt from property division as separate property.

Some couples control their own property division proceedings

The thought of handing over full control regarding your financial future to another person might make you nervous. Many people dislike the uncertainty that comes with a litigated divorce, so they choose to negotiate a settlement outside of court.

You and your ex may have a prenuptial agreement that will make dividing your property very easy. Even if you don’t, you can collaborate outside of court or go through mediation so that you reach a settlement you both feel is fair.

Understanding the different ways that you can approach property division in your Maryland divorce will help you employ the best tactics for your circumstances.