Marital Property Determinations

Dividing marital property can be difficult even in an amicable divorce. In a contested divorce, with emotions running high, it can seem even more like an impossible task.

The attorneys at Wendy Satin Law, located in Rockville, Maryland, have in-depth knowledge and experience in the area of marital property determinations and divorce law. From determining what exactly constitutes marital property in your situation to setting a value and arriving at an equitable solution, Wendy Satin Law offers guidance, representation and a much-needed helping hand.

It is the Court’s goal to allocate the equitable value of all marital property.  However, and equitable division of marital property does not always equate with an equal division of marital property.  Maryland is an equitable property distribution state not a community property state and, when the Maryland court grants an absolute divorce or annulment, it may, or may not make, a monetary award in order to account for an inequitable division in martial property.

A monetary award is the vehicle the Court uses to transfer the equity of marital property held on one spouse’s name to the other spouse.  The Court, in determining whether to make an monetary award or in determining the amount of any monetary award, is required to follow a three step process:

  1. Make a determination of which property is marital property.  Martial property is any tangible, real, or intangible property acquired by the parties jointly or by either party solely, during the marriage.  Title to the property does not determine whether property is marital or non-marital.  Property acquired by either party prior to the marriage, property given to either party by a third party, property inherited by either party, and property excluded by valid Agreement are excluded from any marital property division or award of equity based on the value of marital property.
  2. Determine the value of all marital property.
  3. Make a monetary award, if appropriate, including the right to divide a pension, retirement, profit sharing, or deferred compensation plan, and survivor benefits; transfer title to certain personal property used for the household if the lienholder consents; and transfer title to a jointly owned family home if the other party is released from liability or authorize one party to buy-out the other party pursuant to court-ordered terms.

To arrive at a fair award the court has to consider the following statutory factors:

  1. Contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family.
  2. Value of all property interests of each party.
  3. Economic circumstances of each party at the time the award is to be made.
  4. Circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties.
  5. Duration of the marriage;
  6. Age of each party;
  7. Physical and mental condition of each party;
  8. How and when specific marital property or interest in property was acquired, including the effort expended by each party in accumulating the marital property or interest in property.
  9. Contribution by either party of nonmarital property to the acquisition of real property owned by the parties as tenants by the entirety.
  10. Any award of alimony and any award or other provision that the court has made with respect to family use personal property or the family home.
  11. Any other factor that the court considers necessary or appropriate to consider in order toarrive at a fair and equitable monetary award or transfer of an interest in certain property.

If the Court makes a monetary award, it determines the manner of payment, including the discretion to enter a judgment for any amount of the monetary award that is due and payable.