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Community property verses equitable distribution in Maryland

On Behalf of | May 13, 2022 | Divorce, Post-Divorce Issues |

When going through a divorce in Maryland, your marital property must be divided according to state laws. There are two methods the courts use to divide assets: equitable distribution or community property. Let’s look at their differences and the one that applies in Maryland.

Community property

Community property is a system where all assets and debts acquired during the marriage are considered to be owned equally by both spouses. This means that each spouse is entitled to half of all marital property regardless of who contributed to gathering them.

Even if you inherited a business that you actively work on, part of it would be your ex’s because the court also divides actively appreciated assets during the time you were together. Things that evade split include pre-marriage debts and passively appreciating separate property.

Equitable distribution

Under equitable distribution, all marital assets and debts are split between the spouses in a fair but not necessarily equal way. The law recognizes that some factors in a marriage can make it unfair to divide property in half. For example, the contribution by each party in gathering assets, couples’ employability and educational attainment, age and health, fault grounds for divorce, and tax consequences for post-divorce asset transfers.

Which laws does Maryland use?

Maryland uses equitable distribution laws to divide assets between divorcing spouses. Thus, you should expect to get 20%, 40%, or sometimes even 50% if the court considers it fair, depending on the unique circumstances of your marriage.

Preparing for a divorce

If you are considering a divorce in Maryland, it’s best to adequately prepare for it to ensure you get what you deserve. Consider consulting with divorce attorneys, financial experts, and property appraisers. Look at how Maryland laws may apply to you. And gather and secure all relevant documents you may need during the process.

The court is not the only place you can get a divorce. If you and your partner can agree, you can explore other methods like mediation and arbitration.