Going through a separation or divorce is never easy. There are many different factors to consider and various stages to the process. Determining what to do with shared marital property can prove particularly stressful and add to the emotional impact of the separation.
Choosing an experienced property division attorney in the Bethesda, MD area is critical to ensuring a fair resolution. At Andalman & Flynn, we are committed to protecting your rights and helping you get your share of assets. Schedule your consultation to see how we can help with your claim.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
What Is Considered Marital and Non-Marital Property?
Marital property is all property that has been acquired during the marriage, including:
- Real estate property (such as a house, condominium, or land)
- Bank accounts
- Retirement and pension assets
- And other personal property
Non-marital property is property acquired by one spouse before the marriage, or that is given as a gift or inheritance from a third party during the marriage.
Some property can be deemed both marital and non-marital in Bethesda divorces, such as a retirement account that one spouse has established and contributed to before marriage and continues to contribute to after marriage. The value of the retirement account prior to the date of marriage plus investment experience is deemed non-marital property, while the value of the retirement account generated during the marriage is marital property and subject to division.
What Is Marital Debt?
Marital debt is debt used to acquire marital property. The most common marital debts include mortgages, home equity lines of credit, and car loans. Just as a court will order an equitable division of assets, the court may also order an equitable, but not necessarily equal, division of marital debt.
How Do Courts in the Bethesda, MD Area Divide Property?
Maryland is an equitable distribution state, meaning that if the spouses cannot reach an agreement, the court will determine property division in an equitable, but not necessarily equal, fashion. This means that the court may not divide or re-distribute non-marital property. The court may, however, consider the value of each spouse’s non-marital property in order to determine equitable distribution.
Several factors may influence what defines appropriate property division for Bethesda, MD divorces. Based on Maryland Family Law Code § 8-205, they may include:
- The contributions of each party to the marital estate, both monetary and non-monetary
- The value of all property of each party
- The economic circumstances of each party
- Misconduct that led to the estrangement of the parties
- The duration of the marriage
- The age and physical or mental condition of each of the parties
- How the marital property was acquired
- The amount of alimony awarded
- Any other factors that the court deems relevant
What Happens if One Spouse Wastes Marital Property?
The legal term for wasting marital assets in Bethesda, MD divorces is referred to as dissipation. It occurs when one spouse uses marital property for his or her own benefit for a reason unrelated to the marriage. If the court finds that one spouse’s dissipation of assets was very serious, it may consider the dissipated property as if it still existed when marking an equitable division of the marital property. The purpose of this rule is to discourage either spouse from wasting marital assets.
What Is a “Monetary Award”?
A monetary award is a court order that requires one spouse to pay the other. The court considers a number of statutory factors in deciding how to equitably divide the property and whether to make this monetary award. Those factors may include:
- Each spouse’s contribution, both financial and otherwise, to the well-being of the family
- The economic circumstances of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- The age, health, and physical and mental condition of each spouse
- How and when specific assets were acquired
- Whether either spouse contributed separate property to property the couple owns as tenants by the entirety
- Whether either spouse has been awarded alimony and/or possession of the family home
- Whether either spouse committed marital misconduct that contributed to the divorce
Is it Beneficial to Reach a Marital Property Settlement or Have a Court Decide?
It is always better to reach an amicable property settlement agreement with your spouse, if you can. Reaching an agreement will save you in litigation expenses and can allow you both to move on quicker. However, when a fair agreement is not possible between two spouses, then it is important to have zealous and competent representation to help you determine property division in court.
Property Division Attorneys Serving Bethesda, Maryland
If you are going through a divorce in the Bethesda region, the property division attorneys at Andalman & Flynn can protect your best interests through this difficult time. We are committed to defending the rights of clients throughout Bethesda, MD to ensure all items are distributed as fairly as possible. Our firm has a record of winning verdicts in family law, and our attorneys understand how difficult this process can be. Our goal is to help you start a better way of life on your own and in as timely a manner as possible.
We have built our reputation based on the zealous, knowledgeable representation we provide to clients all over Bethesda, Maryland. We will put our experience to work for you so you can focus on your new, independent life. Contact us to schedule your initial consultation with experienced property division attorneys near you.