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What is considered non-marital property in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2021 | Property And Asset Division

Throughout your lifetime, you acquire various property and assets. These properties and assets are likely acquired at various points throughout your life, starting with potentially purchasing a home or saving for retirement as a young adult.

As you grow older, your property and assets likely become more complex. This is especially true for married couples who intertwine their property and assets. When these couples divorce, the question of what marital property is and what it is not can become not only contentious but downright challenging to determine. Here are a few things you should understand about non-marital property in Maryland.

Marital vs. non-marital property

At the very basic level, marital property is property acquired by either spouse at any time throughout the marriage. This can be true regardless of whose name is on the account, title or more. According to Maryland law, marital property is then divided equitably among both divorcing spouses. However, there are exceptions. Property acquired during the marriage may be considered non-marital property if:

  • The property was passed onto one spouse as an inheritance
  • The property was gifted to one spouse
  • The property is determined as non-marital property in a valid agreement

Property and assets acquired or owned before the marriage are likely considered non-marital property. Proper documentation indicating the property in question belongs solely to one spouse and was purchased or acquired prior to the marriage is necessary.

Property that is partially marital and partially non-marital

To make matters even more complicated, there can be situations where property is considered both marital and non-marital. An example of this could be a house that one spouse purchased prior to the marriage but then after getting married, both spouses contributed to mortgage payments and made other contributions to the property. Another example could be a retirement account that one spouse started contributing to prior to the marriage. The portion contributed before the marriage may be considered non-marital, while the remaining portion may be considered marital.

What if both spouses can’t agree?

Determining which assets are marital and non-marital can be complex, especially for those who have been married for decades and share significant property and assets. In many cases, both spouses will be able to come to an agreement on their own. In these cases, the court will determine the marital property and the worth of such property. An experienced family law attorney can provide guidance from the start.