Divorce is never an easy process, and it can be especially difficult when it comes to the division of property. One of the most significant assets a couple may possess is their home, and it can be challenging to determine how to split the equity in the property. For those who are contemplating or going through a divorce in Maryland, we’ll answer the frequently asked question, “Do I have to give my spouse equity in a divorce?”
Maryland’s Property Division Laws
Maryland is an equitable distribution state, which means that in a divorce, the court will divide marital property in a manner that it deems to be fair and just based on a variety of factors, including:
Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, including financial contributions, contributions to the household, and contributions to the family’s well-being:
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s age, physical and mental health, and earning capacity
- The standard of living established during the marriage
Home Equity in a Maryland Divorce
In Maryland, any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered marital property and is subject to division in a divorce. This includes any equity in the marital home. Equity is the difference between the current market value of the home and the amount that is owed on any mortgage or other liens.
When dividing property in a divorce, the court will consider the factors listed above to determine what is fair and equitable. In some cases, the court may decide that one spouse should receive a larger share of the equity in the home. For example, if one spouse contributed more to the mortgage payments or maintenance of the home, the court may award that spouse a greater share of the equity.
However, in other cases, the court may decide that the home should be sold and the proceeds divided between the spouses. This may be the case if neither spouse is able to afford to keep the home on their own or if selling the home would be in the best interests of any children involved.
It is also important to note that if the home was purchased before the marriage and only one spouse’s name is on the title, that spouse may be able to argue that the home should not be subject to division in the divorce.
However, if both spouses contribute to the mortgage payments or maintenance of the home during the marriage, the court may still consider the equity in the home to be marital property subject to division.
Giving Your Spouse Home Equity
In Maryland, you may have to give your spouse home equity in a divorce, depending on the circumstances. If the home is considered marital property, which means that it was acquired during the marriage, then both spouses have an equal interest in the property, regardless of who paid for it or whose name is on the deed.
If the court determines that the home is marital property, it may order that the equity in the home be divided between the spouses. This could mean that one spouse may be required to compensate the other spouse for their share of the equity. This compensation can take the form of a cash payout or the transfer of other assets of equal value.
Protecting Your Home Equity
If you are concerned about protecting your home equity in a divorce, there are steps you can take. One option is to consider a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, which can outline how property will be divided in the event of a divorce. These agreements can be particularly useful if one spouse owns the home before the marriage.
Another option is to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help you navigate the property division process and protect your interests. Your attorney can help you gather evidence of your contribution to the property, negotiate with your spouse’s attorney, and advocate for a fair division of property in court.
Reach Out to a Maryland Family Law Attorney
If you are going through a divorce in Maryland and have questions about the division of property, it is important to consult with an experienced Maryland family law attorney. An attorney can review the specific facts of your case and help you understand your rights and options.
Our skilled attorneys have years of experience helping clients navigate the complexities of divorce in Maryland. We understand how stressful and emotional this time can be, and we are committed to providing our clients with compassionate, knowledgeable representation every step of the way. Contact SIEGELLAW today at (443) 230-4674 or request a consultation online.