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When it comes to property division in Maryland divorce, some couples tend to focus on the family home and big-ticket items. Parties often overlook many other assets that can have a significant impact on the proceedings. They do not take debts and other obligations into account. Generally speaking, Maryland divorce laws require equitable distribution of all property and liabilities acquired during the marriage. However, to get to this point, you must first know what should be included in what is termed the “marital estate.”
As with many tasks in life, one of the best ways to approach property division is to make a checklist. Your Maryland divorce attorney can provide guidance on what to include, but the following information will help you create an inventory that sets the stage for equitable distribution of assets.
The residence you shared during your marriage is most certainly on this list, but make sure to consider ownership in other types of property. Include vacation homes, investment properties, farm interests, and undeveloped land, even if these assets are in one party’s name. In addition, though it is not legally considered real estate, jot down any time share properties while you are on the subject.
Personal Assets and Collections
The tangible items you own have value, so they must be included on your property division checklist. Some examples may help trigger your thoughts:
- Home furnishings;
- Vehicles, including autos, trucks, RVs, campers, boats, and ATVs;
- Home theater, TVs, AV equipment, and electronics;
- Computers and related home office equipment;
- China, crystal, and dinnerware;
- Artwork, coins, and stamp collections; and,
Financial Assets and Accounts
Bank accounts and related assets are personal in nature. You should include them on a separate list for asset division in divorce. Besides what you have in checking and savings, jot down:
- Accounts for children’s education;
- Retirement, 401(k), pension, profit sharing, and IRA accounts;
- Stocks, bonds, and other securities; and,
- Life insurance.
Business Interests and Property
Ownership in a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company must be included in asset division. Note that the distinction between marital and separate property can be blurred regardless of when the interest was acquired.
Because the parties may have incurred debt as a couple, these legal obligations and liabilities are also subject to equitable division in Maryland divorce. You will include a few obvious items on the list of debts, such as a home mortgage, auto loans, lines of credit, and credit card accounts. Student debt from prior to the marriage can be a sticky issue. Since one person received the degree or credentials while both parties benefitted.
Speak to a Baltimore County, MD Divorce Lawyer About Property Division
This checklist is useful for understanding what is included in the marital estate, as well as knowing what to expect with equitable distribution. Still, you should keep in mind that parties are free to work out assets by agreement. To learn more about property division in Maryland divorce, please contact attorney WILLIAM F. MULRONEY to set up a consultation.