Practice Areas: Marital Property Rights
In some states, property division in a divorce follows rules of titling, and in other states community property rules are followed. Maryland in not a community property state, but Maryland does not follow titling in determining property division in divorce. In Maryland property division is governed by the Marital Property Act.
To determine that to which a spouse may be entitled, it must first be determined what marital property there may be. Marital property is any property (regardless of how titled) acquired by one or both of the spouses during the marriage, including any interest in real estate titled jointly to both spouses unless such real estate had been excluded by valid agreement (such exclusion is rare). But marital property does not include property acquired before the marriage, inheritance to just one spouse, gift to just one spouse, excluded by valid agreement (such as by the terms of a prenuptial agreement), or directly traceable to any of those sources.
A few examples of marital property include: the pension value accrued to one spouse during the time period covered by the marriage (even though the pension may be titled just to the one spouse); any money saved from the wages earned by a spouse during the time period covered by the marriage (even if the bank account is only in the name of just one spouse); anything bought with the wages earned by a spouse during the time period covered by the marriage, such as a house or car or winning lottery ticket (even if the item is only in the name of just one spouse); generally, any jointly titled real estate; and possibly such ownership interest a spouse may have in a business started or worked in by the spouse during the marriage.
Once it is determined what the marital property may be, a valuation is done to see what the marital property is worth. Thereafter, the Court would consider the multiple various factors set forth in the Marital Property Act to reach a decision as to what should be done to adjust the equities and rights of the spouses concerning the marital property, and make a decision which could include ordering one spouse to pay money to the other and/or the transfer of certain assets between the spouses.
It can be quite confusing and complicated. Do you know the law? Do you know how the law applies to the facts of your case? Do you know the procedures you would have to follow, such as what papers to file and the rules of evidence, so that even after you get in front of the Judge you are able to show why you should get what you should get? Shouldn't you find out? Shouldn't you have someone to protect your rights and interests? Only an attorney can do so for you.
Since 1986, Donald J. Arnold has been successfully representing individuals concerning marital property rights. Mr Arnold is authorized to practice law in all state and federal trial and appeals courts covering Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland Law School, with honors, 1986, and was admitted to the Maryland Bar that same year, having passed the Bar Exam on the first attempt. He was admitted to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in 1987, the U.S. Court of Appeals (Fourth Circuit) in 1991, and the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993.
For more information or an appointment call (410) 838-2542 or toll free outside Harford County 1-888-808-0449. Mr Arnold prefers initial potential client contact to be by telephone or appointment in person, with use of e-mail being reserved for existing clients after an appropriate attorney-client relationship has been formally established.
Legalese translated into real people talk.