During the course of your marriage, you and your spouse most likely purchased and now own property together. Since you have decided to divorce, there may be disagreement about who takes ownership of joint assets. Maryland law requires an equitable division of marital property, yet deciding on what is equitable is often open to individual interpretation. Importantly, what is legally equitable is often equal, but not always equal. Linda Sorg Ostovitz, an experienced family law attorney, will help you navigate this issue so you and your future ex-spouse can move on with your lives.
Let’s get easy over with first: If one of you inherited an item, owned it prior to marriage, received it by way of a gift from a third person, that item is excluded by a valid agreement or have property directly traceable to those sources, that spouse retains sole ownership. However, if you don’t have a prenuptial agreement and most couples do not, assets acquired during the marriage, are marital property, subject to the exceptions stated above. The situation may be complicated when one spouse owned an asset prior to marriage, (such as a home) that had some equity in it prior to the marriage, but on which a mortgage was paid during the marriage. Tracing funds and tracking value become important concepts in such a circumstance.
Resolving Differences Over Property Value
No doubt each of you will have a different opinion about the worth of your marital assets. For this reason, we sometimes recommend that you obtain a valuation from a neutral third party. A business that was acquired during the marriage, or real property acquired during the marriage, may justify the use of a third party expert. Experts are expensive, and so decisions to hire them should be made carefully. For instance, it is in the extreme case where it is worthwhile to hire an expert to value personal property.
Going to Court to Determine Division of Property
Divorcing spouses have the option of determining how to divide assets by way of agreement, and this often occurs. When an agreement cannot be reached, the option is to go to court where each party presents his evidence, then the Judge makes the decision. Our attorneys are experienced in courtroom litigation and will prepare you for such hearings.
We understand that this is a difficult time for you. To learn more about how to address the division of marital property, please contact Linda Sorg Ostovitz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-575-0381.
ABOUT LINDA SORG OSTOVITZ
Linda Sorg Ostovitz is a family law attorney. Her legal experience spans more than 34 years. In this time, she has served as a leader, educator and advocate. Mrs. Ostovitz holds a prestigious fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Currently, she serves as President for the Business Women’s Network of Howard County, by which she was chosen Woman of Distinction for 2014. Mrs. Ostovitz represents clients in Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Baltimore Counties. Her practice focuses exclusively on divorce litigation and mediation, child custody and access, child support, alimony, business valuation, as well as property and asset distribution. In addition to providing legal representation in court, Mrs. Ostovitz provides mediation services to help families come to a fair and legally-sound conclusion outside of the traditional court proceedings.
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