Every marriage is different, so it follows that all divorces are not the same. Some couples remain solid for decades, while others spend less time together. This, along with factors such as children, earning capacity, and property, all dictate how assets are distributed when couples divorce. Although some individuals file for divorce and expect an even division of marital property, this usually does not happen. The goal is to have everything divided up in an equitable way, so that both people receive what is fair. Looking at the big picture instead of small details will pave the way to living separate lives.
Length of Relationship and Property
In general, the longer a couple has been together, the more assets they accumulated. Savings accounts, investments, and home equity can increase in value over time, and can make negotiations more complex. Couples that are exiting shorter marriages may have significantly lower assets.
No matter the relationship’s length, either party may have separately owned property in their own names. Jointly owned property may be split down the middle, but this is not always the best option. Maryland laws distinguish between marital and separate property, so property owned before the marriage does not need to be divided, as long as titles were not changed to include the spouse. Anything acquired, including income, except for gifts, during the marriage is considered marital property.
Assets, Debts, and More
In addition to the marital home, assets include its contents, investments, cars, and other items of value. Direct financial contributions, such as commissions, and wages, are also part of the picture. This is balanced with shared debts, like the home’s mortgage, college loans, car loans, and credit cards.
Another element is the amount of assets that each person brought into the relationship when the couple was married. Some individuals are already in debt, while others are financially sound. Non-financial contributions, such as caring for children full-time or being responsible for the home’s upkeep can also help determine how the split is negotiated.
For the Future
Divorce negotiations can be challenging, but it is important to keep the big picture in mind. Put another way, this means that future needs should be considered. The following are some examples: A young child may need college tuition, a large house may be too expensive to afford, or underperforming investments should be unloaded. These are examples of why divorcing couples should look at their current and future needs before agreeing to anything.
Maryland Property and Custody Laws
Oftentimes, Maryland courts will order a title transfer from one spouse to another to achieve equitable property distribution. This may apply to retirement funds and other assets, but not stocks or real estate. Judges can order monetary awards for the same reason. They can also award marital homes to custodial parents for up to three years after a divorce; this is to prevent children from having to move or change schools when possible. In some cases, this can impact how the other property is divided.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients with Equitable Distribution
If you are going through a divorce and need legal guidance, turn to the Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. We will walk you through the divorce process and help you with the next best steps. Complete our online form or call us today at 443-589-0150 for a free consultation. Located in Towson and Hunt Valley, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.