Maryland Property Division Factors
In Maryland, the property and debt issues are typically settled between the parties by a signed Marital Settlement Agreement or the property award is actually order and decreed by the Circuit Court within the Decree of Divorce.
Maryland is referred to as an "equitable distribution" state. When the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the Circuit Court will take the following approach to dividing the assets; First, it will go through a discovery process to classify which property and debt is to be considered marital. Next, it will assign a monetary value on the marital property and debt. Last, it will distribute the marital assets between the two parties in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is deemed by the Circuit Court to be fair.
The court shall determine the property award after considering each of the following factors: (A) the contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family; (B) the value of all property interests of each party; (C) the economic circumstances of each party at the time the award is to be made; (D) the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties; (E) the duration of the marriage; (F) the age of each party; (G) the physical and mental condition of each party; (H) how and when specific marital property or interest in property described was acquired, including the effort expended by each party in accumulating the marital property or the interest in property described in subsection (a)(2) of this section, or both; (I) the contribution by either party of property to the acquisition of real property held by the parties as tenants by the entirety; (J) any award of alimony and any award or other provision that the court has made with respect to family use personal property or the family home; and (K) any other factor that the court considers necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award or transfer of an interest in property or both. (Maryland Code - Family Law Chapter - Section: 8-202, 8-203, 8-205)
Since Maryland is an "Equitable Distribution" state, all marital property will be divided in an equitable fashion according to the court unless agreed to otherwise by the divorcing spouses. What does "equitable" mean? Equitable can be defined as "what is fair, not necessarily equal." To automatically believe the marital property would be divided 50-50 would be a wrong assumption in any equitable distribution state. You can also read more about Maryland property division in the Maryland state statutes located at: http://mlis.state.md.us/.
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