If you and your ex aren’t currently in agreement about what would be a fair way to split your property, then the idea of a divorce can be a frightening concept. You may worry that you will lose valuable property, such as your interest in your vacation home.
Real estate is often among the most valuable assets that spouses need to divide in Maryland divorces. While you may feel confident about making a claim related to your primary residence, you may feel less certain about your rights when it comes to a vacation property or possibly investment real estate.
What rules apply to the division of real property in Maryland divorces?
Maryland is not a community property state
Some states seek to divide marital property relatively evenly by treating it as community property that each spouse owns equally. Maryland does not have a community property statute on the books, so judges presiding over divorce proceedings must use the equitable distribution standard instead.
They need to think carefully about the family’s circumstances and then make property division choices based on those specific details. Your second home or investment real estate holdings could be subject to an order to sell them, or they might end up allocated to one spouse or the other. You will typically need an appraisal to determine the current fair market value of the property, as knowing the current value is important to asking for fair compensation.
You may be able to negotiate an arrangement with your spouse. If you have a particular emotional attachment to one property, then your ex may meet you halfway by letting you keep it in exchange for giving up your interest in other assets. It is only if you are unable to resolve your property division matters between the two of you that you will have to worry about litigation and a judge making those decisions for your family.
Could the cabin be your separate property?
There are a handful of situations in which real property may not be subject to division in a Maryland divorce. These include when the property was an inheritance received by one spouse or an asset owned outright prior to the marriage. If you purchase the property during your marriage or invested marital income in it, then at least a portion of its value is likely subject to division.
Learning more about property division rules in Maryland can help you start planning for your upcoming high-asset divorce.