If you and your spouse have decided to divorce, one of your biggest concerns may be what happens to your property. From your home and bank accounts to business holdings and retirement funds, you may have many types of assets that you need to address.
If you want to pursue an amicable separation, you and your future ex-spouse may be able to negotiate an agreement on your own. However, if you need to litigate your divorce, a judge may divide your shared property according to the principle of equitable distribution.
Which assets does the court divide?
In Maryland, most types of property that either you or your spouse acquired while married likely became marital property. During divorce, a judge may divide this property equitably. Marital assets may include your home, vehicle(s), jewelry and furniture as well as business holdings, retirement funds or other investments.
What is equitable distribution?
Rather than divide marital assets equally, the law tries to distribute property in a way that is fair, or equitable, to both spouses. A judge may divide your assets relatively equally. However, either you or your spouse may receive a larger share based on certain factors.
Factors a judge may consider relevant may include the length of your marriage, your individual economic circumstances and what types of monetary and non-monetary contributions you each made to the family.
The property division issues you face may be complex if you and your spouse own substantial assets. Whether you decide to settle out of court or pursue litigation, understanding the full value of all your property is an important first step in navigating the financial side of your divorce.