Columbia Property Division Lawyer
Maryland is an equitable division state. So, the assets and debts in a high-asset divorce, or any other marriage dissolution case, must be divided equitably. That is not necessarily the same thing as an equal division. To distribute marital property in a way that the divorce is not an unfair financial burden for either party, Maryland judges look to a number of factors.
The aggressive Columbia property division lawyers at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink stand up for your legal and financial rights all through the divorce process. Especially if the parties have been married for a long period of time, property division issues are extremely complex. Nevertheless, our approach is simple. We cut to the chase and stick with the plan. Then, our assertive representation is even more effective.
Property Classification Issues in Columbia
Over time, property becomes commingled. Assume Wife uses money from her paycheck (marital property) to repay her student loans (nonmarital debt). Or assume Husband uses proceeds from a second mortgage on the family home (marital debt) to fund improvements on a rent house he bought before the marriage (nonmarital property).
In both these cases, marital and nonmarital property has become commingled. In some cases, the contributing estate may be entitled to reimbursement. That’s the probable outcome in the student loan example. In other cases, marital property may transmute into nonmarital property, and vice versa. That’s the possible outcome with regard to the rent house example.
These property division issues often involve specialized account analysis and a willingness to compromise. Forensic accounting and other methods can trace expenditures and help determine classification. The outcome usually involves an offset or tradeoff.
The Mechanics of Property Division in Columbia
Once property is classified as marital or nonmarital, it’s possible to divide the marital property. In Maryland, judges may consider a number of factors before making a determination. Some of these factors include:
- Agreements Between the Parties: In Maryland, most judges uphold spousal agreements as long as they are not blatantly one-sided and each party had an attorney during the signing process.
- Economic and Noneconomic Contributions: Economic contributions are rather easy to measure. Typically, it is simply a matter of adding dollars and cents. Noneconomic contributions are a bit more subjective. Sometimes, the “homemaker factor” is very negligible. Other times, especially if one spouse gave up career opportunities to be a caregiver, this factor may be quite substantial.
- Fault in the Breakup of the Marriage: In many states, this factor is irrelevant in property division matters. But a Howard County judge may consider things like adultery when dividing property and debts.
- Age and Health of the Parties: As a general rule, younger and healthier people can work longer and earn more money than older people or those with significant health problems. This factor may be even more pronounced if a spouse has a recognized physical or mental disability.
Other factors include the amount of spousal support, awards of nonmarital property (if any), and any other factor which the judge considers relevant.
Reach Out to a Tenacious Columbia Property Division Lawyer
A final property division must be a just and right division of the marital estate. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Columbia, contact the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. We have several offices throughout the state.