One common issue that divorcing couples face is how to divide their shared property. In Maine, this is referred to as Disposition of Property. In addition to property, couple will also have to allocate their debts evenly. A couple can choose to divide their property in a number of ways. In some cases, everything will be split in a way that both parties feel they receive an equal share. In other situations, the assets can be sold and parties will split the income. In yet another option, one party may receive the majority of the property and the other a cash stipend.
Dividing Assets in Maine Through Litigation
In some cases, the couple can reach an agreement as to how to divide their property, but in others, the Court may be trusted to make a ruling. Maine is an equitable distribution state which means that the Court will look to divide the marital property fairly and evenly. According to Maine Revised Statutes, Title 19-A, section 953:
In a proceeding for a divorce, for legal separation or for disposition of property following dissolution of the marriage by a court that lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse or lacked jurisdiction to dispose of the property, the court shall set apart to each spouse the spouse's property and shall divide the marital property in proportions the court considers just after considering all relevant factors, including:
- What each party contributed to the acquisition of the property (this includes the contributions of a homemaker)
- The value of the property
- Each party's economic circumstances (this includes the desirability of awarding the family home to the party who is given primary custody)
If you are considering filing for divorce in Maine and would like to find out more about disposition of property laws, contact WTB Law right now.
Maine Division of Property Laws
Before property can be divided, a couple must identify all property that is to be split. In most cases, the majority of a couple's property is considered joint or marital property. There are only a few circumstances where property will not be included. As defined in Maine Law, Title 29-A, section 953.2, “marital property” refers to all property that either spouse acquired during the course of the marriage with the exception of:
A. Property acquired by gift, bequest, devise or descent;
B. Property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage or in exchange for property acquired by gift, bequest, devise or descent;
C. Property acquired by a spouse after a decree of legal separation;
D. Property excluded by valid agreement of the parties; and
E. The increase in value of property acquired prior to the marriage and the increase in value of a spouse's nonmarital property as defined in paragraphs A to D.
(1) "Increase in value" includes: (a) Appreciation resulting from market forces; and (b) Appreciation resulting from reinvested income and capital gain unless either or both spouses had a substantial active role during the marriage in managing, preserving or improving the property.
(2) "Increase in value" does not include: (a) Appreciation resulting from the investment of marital funds or property in the nonmarital property; (b) Appreciation resulting from marital labor; and (c) Appreciation resulting from reinvested income and capital gain if either or both spouses had a substantial active role during the marriage in managing, preserving or improving the property.
Additionally, property that was acquired by either party during their marriage and before the divorce or legal separation was filed is considered to be marital property regardless of who's name the title is in. This means that all property, unless it applies to one of the above situations, is considered marital property regardless of who is granted written ownership, who occupies the property or who acquired the property. Certain laws also apply specifically to real estate land. Even real estate that only one party holds a title to can be included if certain requirements are met.
If a final divorce ruling does not divide some marital property, the spouses will both be given joint ownership of the property and may divide or set aside the property as they see fit.
Divorce Lawyer in Maine
If you have are facing a divorce in Portland or anywhere in Maine, contact our office right away. An experienced family law attorney can help you understand more about the separation of assets and your rights. At WTB Law, we will do everything possible to help you through the divorce process as quickly and easily as possible. Call us now to set up a consultation with a divorce lawyer who cares.