When parties divorce, the Court must set apart to each spouse his or her own property (non-marital property) and then divide the marital property in an “equitable” or fair manner. Title 19-A § 953 is the statute in Maine which addresses asset division in a divorce proceeding. The statute sets forth some of the relevant factors that the Court considers in deciding how to divide the marital property.
What if we disagree about how to divide our property?
When there are issues in dispute about whether property is marital or non-marital, it is important to obtain an attorney who is familiar with and understands Maine’s statutes and case law. In many instances, obtaining an appraisal may be necessary. It is important to know what evidence is needed to prove one’s case. Just because one party says something is marital or non-marital doesn’t make it so.
What is actually considered marital property?
The term “marital property” refers to any property acquired by a party during the marriage. However, there are a number of exceptions. A common exception includes property that was acquired by a spouse during the marriage by way of an inheritance. Additional exceptions are described in the statute.
How do you decide which belongings are marital property and which are non-marital?
Often determining whether property is marital or non-marital isn’t cut and dry. In many instances, property, including real estate, may be a combination of non-marital and marital property. This is particularly true due to parties owning houses, either together or separately, prior to marriage and then continuing to own the home during the marriage. Other important factors are whether or not the real estate has a mortgage, and/or if improvements were made to the real estate during the marriage using marital funds, including marital income.
In addition to real estate, there are many other types of assets which may be marital, non-marital or mixed, including, but not limited to:
- Investment accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Business interests
It’s important to have an attorney on your side who can guide you through the divorce process with a strong understanding of proving the marital or non-marital nature of an asset.