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How Property and Debts are Divided During Divorce


If you are considering a divorce in the state of Maryland, you may be wondering how your marital property and debts will be divided between you and your spouse. In most cases, the property acquired during the course of a marriage is considered marital property.Only certain debts acquired during the course of a marriage are considered marital debts. Understanding how your property and debts are divided in Maryland can help you ensure that your legal rights are protected.

Equitable Distribution

Maryland is an equitable distribution state, which means that instead of dividing all marital property between spouses in a 50/50 fashion, the courts will instead use several different criteria to determine how the assets will be divided. Of course, the court will attempt to be as fair and equitable as possible. The court will look at how property was acquired including the source of funds for acquiring property, the monetary and the non-monetary contributions of each spouse, the economic circumstances of each spouse, the sweat equity put into property, the length of the marriage and what caused the demise of the marriage.

Definition of Marital Property

If any property or assets were obtained during the course of the marriage, they will be considered marital property no matter how it is titled. Therefore, if the marital home that was purchased during the course of the marriage is only listed in the name of and titled to one spouse, it is still considered the property of both spouses.

If there was any property that one spouse owned prior to the marriage or inherited even if it was during the marriage, this may be considered separate and non-marital property and will not be considered as part of the marital assets for purposes of division of property. This property is not subject to any property division with respect to divorce.

Division of Debt

Debt acquired during the course of a marriage may also be subject to equitable division by the court if it is debt incurred in relation to the acquisition of marital property.  Debts that are incurred by either party that are not attributable to the acquisition of marital property are not divisible by the court in a divorce.  However, you should know that if a debt is held in both spouses’ names, a creditor still has the legal right under the law to hold both spouses responsible for the debts where they are both listed as a debtor.

Dissipation of Assets

If you use marital assets to pay for expenses such as a car for the person you are having an affair with, or their rent for their apartment, or travel expenses, the court could determine that this was a dissipation of assets. The dissipation of assets will diminish the amount of assets you will obtain in the division of property during the divorce process.

Let Us Help You Today

If you are concerned about how the division of property and debt will impact you during and after your divorce, contact the Prince Frederick divorce attorneys serving southern Maryland at the offices at Meng Law at 410-449-1647 or online today. Our legal team can help you understand your legal rights and how to ensure your rights are protected during the division of your marital property during a divorce.


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