Most married couples in Maryland share things. When it comes to things like finances, although some may maintain separate bank accounts on occasion, most couples consider a vast majority of the income earned during their marriages as marital property. Even those who keep some funds separate from one another share other assets without really thinking about it. They’re married, and they own stuff together; it’s as simple as that.

In divorce, it is often a whole new ballgame, however. The aspect of dividing property can become a central focus, especially in this state, since the court uses equitable division guidelines to determine who gets what. In community property states (of which there are only nine in the nation) both parties jointly own all marital property; therefore, it is divided 50/50 and so is any outstanding debt.

In equitable division states like Maryland, it is unlikely that all assets will be split 50/50, but the court will determine a division that is fair. Often, it is actually the value of assets that is being divided as it is impossible to divide tangible things like boats, houses and cars. So, if one spouse gets the car, the other will get another asset of equal value.

Marital property tends to lead to contentious debates if spouses cannot reach an amicable agreement. This is when the court takes matters into its own hands and makes the decisions for them. To avoid drawn-out property battles, it often helps to seek negotiation support from an experienced Maryland family law attorney.