Married couples preparing for divorce in Maryland often have a lot of questions, and the answers to those questions aren’t always reassuring or accurate. Movies and stories from coworkers about what divorce entails can give someone unrealistic expectations or cause severe and unwarranted anxiety. It is common for writers and those retelling their own stories to exaggerate for dramatic effect.
Many people considering divorce do not have a realistic idea about what the process involves, especially when it comes to the process of separating their finances from their spouse’s. For example, they may catastrophize the likely outcome of property division proceedings or assume that they have certain rights that they do not. People think they will lose the house or get to keep all of their retirement funds without any concessions, neither of which is a likely outcome.
Understanding the state laws that guide property division litigation can help those preparing for a divorce.
Maryland is an equitable distribution state
Every state has unique laws about marital responsibilities and divorce proceedings. Some of those states still apply a community property rule to marital assets. Maryland is among the majority of states in the country that impose an equitable distribution standard in litigated divorces.
If a judge will divide your property because you don’t have a contract with your spouse and you couldn’t settle outside of court, they will do what seems fair based on your circumstances. An even split won’t necessarily be fair, so a judge will have to review your property and the circumstances of your marriage to decide what would be the best approach.
You always have the option of settling
Many people do not like the idea of having a judge divide their property and debts. They would rather take control of the process. Maryland family law judges will work with couples who reach their own settlements for property division terms, which means you don’t have to litigate.
You can negotiate through your lawyers or even attend a mediation session to reach your own property division settlement. Most of your property from during the marriage and your income earned after your wedding will be subject to division. Identifying your priorities and learning more about state law will help you prepare for property division proceedings in your upcoming Maryland divorce.