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When May a Spouse Receive Monetary Award as Part of the Divorce Process in Maryland?

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One of the most challenging and complex issues in divorce is property division, which becomes more complex without the presence of minor children. To achieve an equitable outcome, the court may support the awarding of monetary payment to one spouse. It is a complex process because there are certain rules that need to be strictly followed, otherwise, the paying spouse could be entitled to have the order rescinded. Because of the complexity of the rules and litigation procedures, there is a strong recommendation to consult a Maryland property division attorney to help set matters straight.

John and Patricia’s divorce after a marriage lasting 35 years is a successful case of monetary award payment. After the division of all assets and properties, the trial judge ruled that John owed Patricia the amount of $60,000. The monetary award is ordered in Maryland when the court finds that the division is not fairly equitable after distribution of the marital estate. The payment is ordered by the court to bring out a fair and equitable outcome adhering or satisfactory to the requirement or principle of the law.

In Maryland, there is a three-step process to determine appropriateness of ordering a monetary award. The first step is when the judge categorizes the assets and properties as marital or nonmarital. The judge must then determine the value of assets and properties considered marital. Furthermore, the judge must ascertain and decide if division of assets according to title would be deemed fair or not to one spouse.

In John and Patricia’s case, some of these protocols were not met. Although the court decided it was fair that they each keep their own pensions, it still had to determine value for the pension of each spouse. To determine the value of a pension in Maryland, the employee’s contributions to the pension plus accumulated interests must be calculated and actuarial methods should be applied to determine present value of any future benefit.

When the trial court divides a spouse’s pensions by proportionate share, the court is not required to assign values to the pensions. In case the court rules that each spouse may hold on to their respective pensions and orders a monetary award to make up for the difference between the spouse’s respective pensions, valuing the two pensions is necessary to determine if distribution of an specific amount of a monetary award will cover and make for an equitable outcome. Failure to evaluate the pensions resulted in a reversal of the court’s ruling to award Patricia the money.

Divorce is a very complex issue. That is why it greatly benefits you to have an experienced attorney in your corner. Don’t go into this alone. Let our skilled divorce attorneys help. Feel free to call (301) 889-8085 or schedule a consultation online.

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