Marital property in Maine means all property acquired by either spouse after the commencement of the marriage, regardless of whether title is held individually or jointly.

Under Maine law, the following is not considered marital property: (1) property acquired by gift, bequest, devise or descent; (2) property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage or in exchange for property acquired by gift, bequest, devise or descent; (3) property acquired by a spouse after a decree of legal separation; (4) property excluded by valid agreement of the parties; and (5) the increase in value of property acquired prior to the marriage, and the increase in value of a spouse’s non-marital property.

In a proceeding for divorce or legal separation, the court will set apart each parties non-marital property, and then divide the martial property equitably. The court views marriage as a partnership and shared enterprise, and will put less weight on which spouse purchased the property, and focus more on how the division can be most equitable. Equitable division does not mean equal division, and in most circumstances the property division will not be completely equal.

When dividing the marital property, the court will consider the following factors: (1) the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the property, including the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker; (2) the value of the property set apart to each spouse; (3) the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time of the division.

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In certain situations, non-marital property can become marital property during the marriage.  First, the property may be commingled over time, making it difficult to determine if it’s non-marital or marital property.  Second, the non-marital property may become marital property through the process of transmutation. Transmutation occurs when the parties display a clear intent to treat their non-marital property as marital.

If you find yourself contemplating a divorce or legal separation, contact Attorney Eric Thistle to discuss options to protect your marital and non-marital property interests.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide general information about Maine law. The publication of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.

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