Maryland divorce courts follow the equitable distribution method, which means that a judge could decide to divide marital property based on fairness. As noted by Forbes, any asset, item or debt acquired in marriage classifies as marital property.
You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may discuss splitting your marital property based on your personal ideals of fairness. If you cannot decide and instead ask a judge to divide your property fairly, you may not leave your marriage with all the assets that you hoped to keep. When marital assets divide through an equitable distribution, one spouse may gain an advantage.
Factors Maryland divorce court judges may use to consider fairness
When left up to the court to divide, a judge typically reviews the circumstances surrounding the divorce. The duration of your marriage, each spouse’s age and other factors may influence a judge’s decision. Each spouse’s income and financial status may also play a role in property division.
Although both spouses generally contribute to purchasing marital assets, only one spouse may have earned the greater income that financed those purchases. In some cases, however, a nonworking spouse could have made a contribution that benefited the entire household and helped enable the purchase of marital property.
The value provided by a nonworking spouse
The divorce court judge may consider whether you or your spouse stayed at home to raise children. The time spent away from the workforce may reflect a financial value that counts as contributing to the acquisition of the marital property.
Some couples decide to obtain a fair market value of their property and then sell it. If you choose to do so, you may need to split the proceeds fairly with your spouse. You may, however, keep separate property such as gifts or inheritances.