You and your spouse have decided to move forward separately. Now what? You have so many mental, emotional, physical, social, practical, legal and financial transitions to make that you may easily feel overwhelmed. Sometimes, it can help to break down this kind of major life transition into smaller, more manageable pieces. It isn’t always possible, but when it is, it can make a difference to your overall well-being.
For example, the task of dividing your marital property can be daunting, especially if you have been married for a long time and/or your finances are particularly complex. Yet, if you carefully consider the concept of equitable division, you can begin crafting a workable, forward-looking approach.
Equitable vs. equal division: What to know
In equal division states, spouses who can’t reach an agreement about how they’d like to divide their mutual property are required to split its value 50-50. By contrast, equitable division states like Maryland allow judges to order an “uneven” division of marital assets as long as that arrangement is fair.
This means that as you start to think about dividing your joint property, you’ll want to consider whether you or your spouse is entitled to an uneven distribution of the value of any given asset. For example, you may have purchased the family’s summer home with personal injury settlement money awarded to you as a result of a serious accident. Even though the property is jointly owned, the fact that it was paid for with money awarded to you means that you’re likely entitled to a larger share of its value in the interest of fairness.
Whether your divorce is likely to be amicable or contentious, as long as you’re working towards a truly equitable solution, you’ll be well-positioned for success. Although the task of dividing a marital estate is rarely straightforward, if you focus on the end goal of achieving a truly fair settlement, this challenge won’t seem quite so daunting.