When going through a divorce, one of the hardest things to do is come to an agreement on who gets what in terms of the marital assets. Even in otherwise civil cases, couples often can't come to a mutual agreement about how their assets will be distributed and it ends up having to go to court to have a judge decide. While this should be avoided when possible, it is good to know what standards the judge will use should it have to go to court.
Maryland is an Equitable Distribution State
When divorcing in Maryland, you will need to be aware that state laws indicate that assets will be divided using equitable distribution. This is a process where the judge attempts to split the assets in a way that will take financial positions and other factors into account. Rather than simply splitting everything 50/50 down the middle, it looks more at the long term success of all parties involved.
Some factors that the judge will look at when distributing the assets include the following:
- Children – Above all else, a judge will work to put the best interests of any children first. This means the person who has primary custody of them will likely get the primary residence and a reliable vehicle.
- Income – The level of income that each party currently brings in will be looked at carefully.
- Income Potential – In many cases, both the income potential and the actual income will be considered. If one person has an advanced degree but isn't currently working, the courts will take that into account.
- Age – The age of each person in the marriage will be looked at, especially in regards to how that will impact their ability to work and what types of needs they will have.
- Marriage Length – The length of the marriage can have some impact on how things are distributed, especially if one spouse brought significantly more assets to the marriage than the other.
- Standard of Living – The established standard of living that each party has become used to may be factored in.
- Pre or Post Nuptial Agreements – If there are any pre or post-nuptial agreements in place, the judge will take them into account.
When all of these factors, and any others the judge deems worthy, are considered, the assets will be divided up in a way that will have as little total impact on each of the parties (including the children). Whether this means assets are split 50/50, or one person gets 90% and the other 10%, the judge will have a lot of freedom in making the determination.
Get Help Fighting for Your Rights
Whenever a divorce goes to court, the judge will listen to the arguments on why he or she should rule in a specific way. Having an experienced attorney there to demonstrate why you deserve certain assets can do a lot to help you to get what you need from the equitable distribution process. Contact The Tyra Law Firm to learn about your options and see how attorney Neil Tyra can help you through this process.