Property division laws both in Virginia and Maryland make a crucial distinction between marital property and separate property.

Marital property includes property acquired during the marriage, which is not otherwise classified as separate property and must be divided between the two parties.

Separate property is property acquired by one spouse before the marriage and property willed or given to one spouse by a third party during the marriage and is usually awarded solely to that spouse.

Division of Marital Property

Both Virginia and Maryland are “Equitable Distribution” states. This means that marital property is divided “equitably” and not necessarily “equally.” Rather, the court will divide property between spouses in a way that it considers fair or equitable. In the majority of cases, a fair division will be an equal (50/50) division. In other cases, however, once property is classified as marital, the court examines the following factors:

Each party’s monetary and non-monetary contributions to the well-being of the family;

The monetary and non-monetary contributions of each party in the acquisition, care and maintenance of marital property;

The length of the marriage;

The ages and health of the parties;

The issues that brought about the end of the marriage;

The circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the property;

Each party’s debts, the basis for the debts, and the collateral for the debts;

Whether or not the property is liquid;

Any tax implications;

Other factors of the court’s discretion.