Baltimore County & Towson Divorce Lawyer | Marital Property | Equitable Distribution.
How Marital Property is Usually Divided In a Baltimore County Divorce.
Before discussing the divorce process of equitable distribution in The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, it is a useful exercise to discuss how property is usually divided by Towson Lawyers during divorce negotiation. Most of the time,
- There is an effort on the part of the attorneys to divide the marital property equally. Usually the largest asset is the marital home and the marital home is either sold with the proceeds divided between the parties after the mortgages paid off and all liens and taxes and utilities are paid off. Sometimes, one spouse will buy out the other spouse based on the amount of equity in the marital home. The idea boils down to purchasing the other spouse’s equity which would be half of the equity in the marital home.
- The retirement assets are divided in accordance with the Bangs formula. This means that the marital share of each spouse’s retirement holdings will be split using a qualified domestic relations order. That way, if both spouses get half of the marital share of each other’s retirement assets, each walks away with the same amount of retirement assets. The discussion about which spouse “earned” the retirement asset is beside the point.'
- More often than not, each spouse keeps the automobile that they are driving at the time of the divorce. The parties usually divide the property in the marital home in a civilized manner so that each gets the furnishings and decorations that he or she likes.
- Likewise, whatever joint money might remain in bank accounts is typically divided on a 50-50 basis.
Maryland's Three-Step Equitable Distribution Process
When the common practice of diving property equally does not happen, the court will divide the property in a process called equitable distribution. Equitable distribution is a three-step process:
- The first step is to identify all of the property that either spouse has whether it came before the marriage or during the marriage, from work or from inheritance; by mysterious appearance or not; every piece of property is listed and then identify this as marital or non-marital. If any piece of property was acquired during the marriage then it is marital unless it can be traced to an inheritance, a gift from a third party or the property is excluded by valid agreement. Absent those exceptions, if a piece of property was acquired during the marriage, it will be deemed marital property.
- The second step is to determine the value of each and every piece of marital property. Every piece of furniture and every retirement asset and every bank account must be valued. The responsibility falls upon the lawyer for each party to present evidence of value. The court has an obligation to determine the value of each piece of property that has identified as marital property or else the trial court finding may be appealed. The importance of appraisers and actuaries and original financial documents cannot be understated when it comes to determining the value of the marital property.
- The third step is to make sure that each spouse gets the appropriate amount of marital property. Invariably, one spouse will have more marital property than the other spouse because of title. Title does not keep property off the table. It is more like the spouse with title to more of the property or rather check to the spouse with less property. This is accomplished through a marital award. A marital award is a cash award that the court orders one spouse to pay to the other spouse to ensure that each of them walks away with the right amount of property.
What is the right amount of property for each Baltimore County Spouse to Walk Away With?
The court applies a dozen factors to determine who should get what. The Circuit Court for Baltimore County has lots of discretion to basically divide property in the matter it deems fair. Although, there are a number of variables, principles of equitable distribution require that the spouse will pay the mortgage during the separation be given credit for those amounts paid for the mortgage payments. There is an exception to this, however, which is ouster when a spouse is kept off the property by the other spouse.
Call (410) 321-4994 For a Consultation With Towson Divorce & Child Custody Family Lawyer Amar S. Weisman.
Please Call (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free Consultation. The purpose of the consultation is to decide whether you want to hire Amar S. Weisman. To obtain legal services, you must pay a retainer, see Policy on Fees/Costs. The law firm is next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204. We represent clients throughout the Baltimore area including Aberdeen. Abingdon, Bel Air, Bowleys Quarters, Catonsville, Cockeysville, Edgewood, Essex, Lutherville, Owings Mills, Parkville, Perry Hall, Rosedale, Sparrows Point, Timonium, Towson, Westminster and White Marsh.