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Property Division: What you Need, What you Want, and How to Tell the Difference

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Divorce is nothing if not an emotional tangle.  When it comes to property, know what you need and think twice about what you want.

Despite the emotional upheaval of divorce, there are a few specific things that must be accomplished so that you can obtain your divorce decree.  Those tasks are:

  • Make decisions about the custodial care and guardianship of children
  • Come to agreement about spousal support, if any
  • Divide marital assets

The decisions made around these topics can significantly impact your life—and your children—going forward.

What do we mean by “marital estate?” 

The money, property, accounts, valuables, and debt that you acquire during your marriage represent your marital estate.  Owned by both spouses, dividing marital assets can sometimes be as contentious as custody decisions during divorce.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Many times one spouse, or both, is emotionally attached to particular marital assets.  Instead of thinking about what would be smart for the future, they think about what they want to keep from the past.  Identifying what you want but knowing what you need is important as you begin negotiations with your partner.

Here are some tips about property division during divorce in Maryland:

  • Reconsider the house: For many, remaining in the marital home is important.  Along with children, good memories, and a desirable location, you may want to keep the house no matter what.  Keep in mind, home ownership can be expensive and time consuming.  Is the house going to be too big for your needs?  What about the mortgage and taxes?  Double-down on the details of whether it is smart for you to keep the home, or if there are options that would better support the future you have in mind.
  • The small things: Although there may be a valuable collection, expensive car, or other personal property item that you would fight for during a divorce, try to keep your eye on the valuables that could fund your future.  These might include travel reward points, business equity, or intellectual property you may have developed or funded.
  • Look high and low: Work with your legal counsel to ensure that you fully identify the marital estate.  Collect tax returns, understand retained earnings, carefully take stock of retirement and other investment accounts. An agreement to pay off your debt will help you more than an exclusive membership that you must pay to maintain.

Keep in mind that Maryland follows a rule of equitable distribution of the marital estate.  Maryland courts that are required to make property division decisions will create a fair, but not necessarily even, distribution of assets.

Negotiating with your spouse through an experienced divorce attorney can reduce the tension of divorce and assure that you are not making property division distributions that do not support your interests.

If you are thinking about divorce—or wondering what a good asset strategy would be for you—speak with a skilled family law attorney before you commit to any divorce agreement.

Contact an experienced Baltimore divorce attorney

With a practice focused on family and domestic law, the Law Offices of Allyson B. Goldscher, LLC serve individuals and families throughout Baltimore and Baltimore County from our offices in Stevenson. Contact us when you have questions about divorce and division of assets, or call 410-602-9522 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.