Of Counsel, Z Family Law, LLC Rockville, Maryland Family Law Attorney Serving MontgomeryCounty and FrederickCounty
When the Maryland court grants an absolute divorce or annulment, it may make an equitable distribution of the property that the parties acquired separately or jointly during the marriage. The court is required to follow a three step process:
(1) Make a determination of which property is marital property (i.e., property, however titled, acquired separately or jointly during marriage). Marital property does not include property (a) acquired before marriage; (b) acquired by inheritance of gift from a third party; (c) excluded by valid agreement; or (d) directly traceable to any of these sources. However, no matter when or how the parties acquired real property which they own as tenants by the entirety that property will be considered marital property unless the parties have a valid agreement excluding it from such designation;
(2) Determine the value of all marital property;
(3) If appropriate make a monetary award, including the right to divide a pension, retirement, profit sharing, or deferred compensation plan, and survivor benefits; transfer title to certain personal property used for the household if the lienholder consents; and transfer title to a jointly owned family home if the other party is released from liability or authorize one party to buy-out the other party pursuant to court-ordered terms.
The court strives for an equitable allocation or adjustment, but that does not necessarily require an equal division.When a monetary award, pension division, real property transfer or buy-out, or related marital property issues are requested by either or both parties in the case, the parties are required to file a Joint Statement of Marital Property and Nonmarital Property listing all property owned by one or both of them, and each party's assertions concerning title, value, liens, and status as marital or nonmarital. To arrive at a fair award the court has to consider the following statutory factors:
(1) contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
(2)value of all property interests of each party;
(3)economic circumstances of each party at the time the award is to be made;
(4)circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties;
(5)duration of the marriage;
(6)age of each party;
(7)physical and mental condition of each party;
(8)how and when specific marital property or interest in property was acquired, including the effort expended by each party in accumulating the marital property or interest in property;
(9)contribution by either party of nonmarital property to the acquisition of real property owned by the parties as tenants by the entirety;
(10)any award of alimony and any award or other provision that the court has made with respect to family use personal property or the family home;
(11)any other factor that the court considers necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award or transfer of an interest in certain property.
If the court makes a monetary award, it determines the manner of payment, including the discretion to enter a judgment for any amount of the monetary award that is due and payable.
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John S. Weaver, Of Counsel
Z Family Law, LLC 51 Monroe Street, Suite 1501, Rockville, MD 20850