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Law Office of
Christopher S. Berryment, Esq.

129 Main Street, Mexico, Maine 04257

you probably have a lot of questions about Marital and non-Marital Property and Debts.  I will answer some of those questions below.  I'm looking forward to our first meeting and learning more about your case.

What is Marital vs. Non-Marital Property?

In general, marital property is any and all property acquired during the marriage by either party.  Property acquired during the marriage is not marital if it is acquired in certain ways.  Those ways include gifts, inheritance, or subject to a pre-marital agreement.  

How Is Property Divided?

First, the court separates the marital property from the non-marital property. Each party keeps their non-marital property (however, a spouses's non-marital property may be considered in the court's award of spousal support).

Then, the court decides how much of the marital property each party will be awarded.  The court will consider "all relevant factors" including:

(1) Each spouse's contribution to the acquisition of the marital property (including contributions as a homemaker);

(2) The value of the [non-marital] property set apart to each party; and,

(3) The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live in the home for reasonable periods to the spouse having custody of the children."

How Is The Court's Division of Property Enforced?

When the Court awards a piece of property, the Order or Judgment usually serves as the "title" to that property. When a Court awards a retirement benefit like a 401(k) or pension, the court must sign a "Qualified Domestic Relations Order "ODRO".   The administrator of the fund/account/pension will abide by the Order.  For real estate, an "abstract" of the Court's order can be recorded in the Registry of Deeds.  With respect to "tangible personal property", sometimes the police will enforce a divorce judgment and order the turnover of property.  Other times, the police may require the court to specifically order them to take the property from the opposing party. A party who willfully disobeys a court order can be held in contempt and sent to jail until they comply with the court's order.

What Happens With Marital and

Non-Marital Debt?

Maine law does not specifically refer to the division of debt.  However, courts generally treat debt a a manner similar to property.  First the court will divide debt into marital and non-marital.  Generally debt incurred during the marriage is marital while debt incurred before the marriage is non-marital.  Then, the court will divide the marital debt between the parties.