Division of Marital Property
The Southern Maryland law firm Sasscer, Clagett & Bucher (SCB) has experienced family law practitioners. Family law issues – divorce, separation agreements, child custody and visitation, child support, alimony and spousal support, division of marital property, protective orders, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, hidden assets, and high asset divorce – are life changing events. Planning and good advice is the best way to face this legal and emotional situation. The first step is to meet with us to assess your situation now or what it may be in the future and discuss your options.
Division of Marital Property in Maryland
Maryland is an equitable distribution state. Despite the way that sounds, this doesn’t mean that the court divides everything equally (although it does mean each spouse should walk away with half the marital property). Possessions acquired by both spouses during the marriage are considered marital property and this includes both the house and land.
Marital property does not include what each spouse brought separately to the marriage or what one spouse may have received via inheritance or gift during the marriage.
For example, if one spouse owned a beach house before the marriage and sold the house to buy another house, that house does not become marital property and remains the spouse’s separate property.
In order to determine how property should be divided, the court will examine what each spouse contributed to the marriage. This includes financial factors as well as childcare factors if one spouse stays at home and cares for children.
Protect Yourself in a Divorce Property Settlement
The best way to protect yourself in a divorce property settlement is to hire a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney.
Dealing with a divorce property settlement is overwhelming and often contentious. Protect yourself by hiring a lawyer. A good attorney can help you:
- make a list of what you own and estimate its worth
- organize your records
- uncover valuable information
- provide essential legal advice
In Maryland, once a court determines a need and ability to pay, the judge will evaluate the following factors to determine a fair and equitable spousal support award:
- supported spouse’s ability to become self-supporting
- time required for supported suppose to advance education needed for employment
- marital standard of living
- marriage length
- each spouse’s contributions (monetary and nonmonetary) to the family well-being
- each spouse’s age and mental/physical condition
- paying spouse’s ability to remain financially independent while paying spousal support
- each spouse’s financial needs
- whether an award of spousal support would cause the paying spouse to become eligible for medical assistance earlier than necessary
- the circumstances that contributed to the divorce
In Maryland, judges have discretion and evaluation and weigh each of the above factors to calculate spousal support. Unless the couple agrees otherwise, the judge will decide frequency and payment type for spousal support.
The family law team at Sasscer, Clagett & Bucher can offer the support you need and help you navigate this complicated process towards a desirable outcome.
Contact Sasscer, Clagett & Bucher’s Family Law Attorneys
We will work to avoid litigation and settle your family law issues amicably through negotiation. However, when this is not possible, we fight vigorously to protect your interests in the courtroom. Either way, Sasscer, Clagett & Bucher is sensitive to your emotions, and we will always provide compassionate representation.
If you would like to speak with a member of the firm, or have any question about our practice, please contact our offices to arrange a consultation. Call 301-627-5500.