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Is Maryland A Joint Or Community Property State?

Maryland recognizes joint or community, in that all property acquired during the marriage (except for gifts to one spouse, inheritances, or via prenup) are considered marital property. This holds true, regardless of title. I receive many calls from couples who are under the impression that the house, car, bank account, retirement, and other items are their possession(s) because their spouse does not have their name on the property: wrong! Maryland is not a title state; therefore it does not matter if (for example) the car’s title and registration is in one spouse’s name only, that car IF purchased during the marriage is marital property and subject to division by the Court. Of course, a car cannot be divided like money, but the Court can grant a monetary award to the spouse who does not have the vehicle. Responsibility for joint debts work the same way. After saying “I do” and/or signing your marriage license, EVERYTHING you own is an OURS, not his or hers.

What Are The Factors That Affect The Division Of Assets In a Divorce?

The biggest factor (as explained above) is when the property was purchased. There’s a rebuttal presumption that debts and property acquired during the marriage is joint responsibility or jointly owned. The Court may award a 50/50 split but parties are free to present evidence as to why an equal division is unfair. For instance, there are situations where one spouse has left the marital home for a considerable period of time and is no longer contributing to the expenses: the spouse who remains in the marital home may argue that a 50/50 split of the equity is unfair in their case. The Court will listen to both sides (unless there’s an agreement—of course) and make its decision.

What Happens If Someone Owns A Home Before Marriage And Then The Property Is Put Into Both Names During The Marriage? How Would That Generally Be Divided In A Divorce?

Title really doesn’t matter: the money that has been used in/on the property during the marriage is what matters. There are many couples who owned their cars and homes prior to marriage but continue to make improvements and/or payments on those items during the marriage. Once the couple is married, however, if there are still payments being made from either spouse, the payment is NOW coming from a marital source. The result is marital contributions are now being made on what started as a non-marital property. Therefore, many couples who marry later in life and acquire assets before marriage request a pre-nuptial/ante-nuptial agreement to protect these assets being brought into the marriage.

Are Pension Or Retirement Related Assets Divided The Same As Other Property?

Courts use the “Bangs/Pleasant formula” to calculate what percentage of pension and retirement funds a spouse is entitled to receive. Generally, from the time of marriage, a spouse is entitled to a share of the other spouse’s retirement funds until the date of divorce. Basically, the court uses a formula to calculate the fair share based on the length of the marriage and does not consider the time before or after the marriage. In essence, the spouse is entitled to a share of the other spouse’s retirement fund based on the marital period.

Social security benefits, however, is a little different. Since social security is under the domain of the federal government, practitioners cannot negotiate payments. There is a ten year marriage period that must be covered before spouse’s entitlement to social security.

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