When facing the possibility of a divorce, you may be wondering about how all of the property will be divided. One of the biggest stalemates in many divorces is the division of property and how it’s handled. Will everything be split evenly? What about something you inherited?
Divorce property division is not always a 50/50 split in Maine, and if you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement on property division, the court will likely take over and divide both property and marital debts.
Maine is not a “community property state, but a so-called “equal distribution” state. This means that in the event of a conflict, the court will divide your property “equitably.” That doesn’t mean “equally divided,” nor who paid for it. The division will be made according to how the court deems “fair,” and specific to your family’s situation.
The court will also take into consideration:
- The contributions of each spouse to the purchase and possession of the marital property, including the contribution of one spouse as a homemaker or other non-monetary contributions
- The value of the property that is set aside to each spouse
- The financial conditions of each spouse at the time the division of property will take effect. This may include allowing the custodial parent of any children to stay in the marital home for a period of time until they are no longer minors.
Maine Code Revised Title 19-A, Section 953 explains this in detail.
This is the property acquired during the marriage, which can include:
- The family home
- Additional real estate (i.e., vacation home)
- Bank accounts
- Investment, retirement and pension accounts
- Debts incurred during the marriage
- Family business and business interests
Even property that is in the name of only one spouse can be considered a marital property if it was purchased or acquired during the marriage, unless it’s separate property.
Property that is owned by only one of the parties, not both, and is not part of marital property. This can include:
- Any property received through inheritance or a gift before or during the marriage
- Property acquired after the date of your legal separation
- Property both you and your spouse agree is not marital property
- Property that’s acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to marriage, or by gift, inheritance, or bequest
- An increase in value on an item deemed separate property
However, the issue of separate property can become murky if the other spouse contributed to it, or uses it and gains benefit from it. One example would be using marital funds to pay for repairs, renovations, etc., on a piece of rental property that started out as separate property.
It may become necessary to establish something as separate property, such as wills, deeds, trusts, or other documentation in order to keep the property as separate and out of the marital property division. To prove that something is separate property, the court will be interested in “clear and convincing evidence.” But separate property used by both parties may be subject to division as marital property.
Facing Divorce Property Division In Maine?
Divorce is one of the most difficult things in a family’s life. For more than 25 years, Peter W. Evans has helped Mainers with family law issues, including divorce and property divisions. Mr. Evans gives each client and case personal attention to resolve nearly any kind of family law problem. Call (207) 747-5114 today or contact us online to make an appointment.