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Property and Debt Division


A married couple often acquires a lot of property, such as real estate, retirement accounts, and vehicles. When they decide to divorce, all of that property (as well as any debt) must be divided between them. 

At the Law Offices of Dylan Boyd, our divorce lawyers understand how to handle these matters and will work hard to achieve the right outcome in your case. We will help you divide the property in a way that is fair to you and in accordance with the law--either though a settlement agreement or through a trial. Contact us online or call us at (207) 536-7147 to schedule a consultation.

The types of property at issue may include:

  • Real estate;
  • Business interests;
  • Bank accounts;
  • Investments;
  • Retirement accounts;
  • Vehicles;
  • Furniture; and
  • Other personal property.

Essentially, property division in a Maine divorce is a two-step process. In the first step, the court must determine what property is "marital" and what property is "non-marital." Generally, marital property means all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Thus, any property acquired by either spouse before the marriage is considered non-marital and set aside to that spouse. However, even if property was acquired during the marriage, it may still be deemed non-marital in certain circumstances, such as the following:

  • Property subject to a legally binding pre-marital (a.k.a. prenuptial) agreement;
  • Property acquired by gift or inheritance; and
  • Increases in the value of non-marital property if the owner did not invest marital funds or marital labor to improve the property or increase its value.

Of course, some property may be partially marital and partially non-marital. A common example is where one spouse had some equity in real estate before the marriage, but the mortgage on that real estate continued to be paid during the marriage. It is also important to note that just because there is only one spouse's name on a real estate deed or other ownership document, that does not mean that the property will be considered their non-marital property.

Non-marital property can also be changed (or "transmuted") into marital property in certain circumstances. A common example is where one spouse owned real estate as his or her non-marital property but then added his or her spouse to the deed as a joint owner, which has the effect of changing the property from non-marital to marital. 

The second step of the property division process is known as "equitable distribution." The court must divide the marital property in proportions it considers "just" after considering all relevant factors, including:

  • The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
  • The value of the property set apart to each spouse;
  • The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time of divorce;
  • The possibility of awarding the family home to the spouse with primary residential care of the children; and
  • "Economic abuse" by a spouse.

Notably, "equitable distribution" does not necessarily mean an equal or 50/50 division. There may be circumstances such that the court will award more than half (or less than half) of the marital property to one spouse or the other.

The same legal principles discussed above apply to the division of debts in a divorce.

Property and debt divisions in a divorce judgment are final and cannot be later modified, except by agreement of the parties.

Contact a Portland Divorce Lawyer Today

At the Law Offices of Dylan Boyd, our divorce attorneys will advise you so that you can make informed decisions and will advocate to protect your property interests. We will be honest and straightforward about your options and persistent in working toward a fair outcome. Contact us today online or at (207) 536-7147 to schedule a consultation.

Contact Us Today

We are committed to answering your questions about Criminal Defense & OUI, Family Law & Divorce, Wills & Planning, and Mediation issues in Maine. We will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.