In Maryland there are two types of divorce:
“Absolute divorce” is the permanent and complete dissolution of marriage, and a stressful life event that is rated second only to the death of a spouse on the Holmes and Rahe scale. It is a scary, and unsettling life event that can freeze you in your tracks. Keeping it simple, by communicating effectively with your soon to be ex-spouse is the smoothest action to get through it swiftly. During the separation period or “limited divorce” as it is known in Maryland, shortages of money and disjointed living conditions may plague both spouses resulting in late bills, and decreased access to personal property along with the emotional fallout experienced.
Maryland has an “equitable distribution” statute.
Maryland courts try and do what they believe to be fair in the division of all marital property, rather than equal. However, a majority of cases result in equal distributions of property or the value thereof. When you get a divorce in the State of Maryland, the judge divides your property based on the particulars of your case. Maryland courts consider a variety of factors in awarding an “equitable share” of the marital estate to each party.
During the divorce process which can take time, if one party cannot agree with the other about settlement, the judge can order a spouse to let the other spouse use personal property and real estate – for instance, staying in the family home may be something the judge sees in the best interest of the children. If you have been abandoned by your spouse, and you are having difficulty paying for the things you need, the judge can order your spouse to let you keep certain personal property and real estate.
Factors judge considers for division of property.
During the divorce process the judge will divide all of the property you and your spouse own. That means collectively all that you own together and all that you own separately. The judge has the final say in what is fair unless you come to the table with an agreement on splitting your property. The judge will look at the whole picture when deciding who will get what of the personal property. This decision will be based on “factors” which are considered into the equation including:
- how long you have been married,
- how you behaved throughout the marriage,
- ease in getting gainful employment,
- type of work you do,
- job skills,
- present income,
- amount of money and property you have,
- children’s needs,
- how hard it will be for you to get money, property or income in the future.
The judge may consider factors for both you and your spouse like: 1) how much each of you paid to buy, maintain and increase the value of your property, and 2) what each of you did for the family as a “homemaker”. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, and child care can be as important as bringing in money. You have the right to a share of the personal property even if you did not earn the money and did not buy the property. The division of property when you get divorced is sometimes a division of actual things, usually expensive things, like cars, art work, furniture, and jewelry. For ordinary things, like pots and pans and household tools and appliances, the judge decides how much one spouse has to pay the other.
Seek legal counsel.
Matters of property division surrounding the process of divorce are difficult. Navigating your way to the best possible outcome to secure a stable way of life after the final divorce is easier with the help of the legal professionals at Barkley & Kennedy in Rockville Maryland, who have experience and know what hurdles will come up and how to get over them with ease.
Barkley & Kennedy, Chartered
51 Monroe Street, Suite 1407
Rockville, MD 20850