Call Us Today
Free Consultation 410-321-4994

Towson Divorce Lawyer | Marital Property | The Marital Home.

Adjudication Of The Marital Home Under Maryland Law In Harford & Baltimore County  

Having litigated more than 300 divorces in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area requiring the marital home to be resolved, Amar S. Weisman understands that  the law gives Judges a lot of power to do a lot of different things to the marital home based on his or her sense of justice and analysis of the equities. The Marital Property Act and its amendments have empowered judges to transfer the marital home to one of the parties, order a sale of the marital home or even temporarily give one party the marital home for a Three Year Use and Possession Period. There is also a complex body of case law that deals with the Family Use Personal Property Inside the Marital Home. For most divorces, the disposition of the real property is usually made more complicated by the feelings that the parties have developed in connection with the land. Many clients, on the other hand, view the Marital Home as just another disposable asset. It is essential to communicate how you feel about all primary and secondary residences, and the stuff inside, at the beginning of the attorney-client relationship. 

  • Was the marital home purchased during the marriage? If so, did either spouse use pre-marital funds, gift, or inheritance to purchase the property or improve the property?  
  • If the marital home was owned by one spouse before the marriage, what contributions have been made during the marriage in the form of mortgage payments and home improvements?
  • Note: It does not necessarily matter whose name is on the house, whose name is on the mortgage, or who made the contributions. The big question is what contributions were made after you said, "I do." 

Options for the Marital Home 

Option #1: Spousal Buy-Out 

One spouse can "buy out" the other spouse's marital interest in the a lump-sum payment or a series of payments over time, which are structured as a marital award for family law, tax law, and settlement purposes. When there is a spousal buy-out, the one who keeps the house is usually responsible for re-financing the home in his or her own name. 

Option #2: Sell The House Together 

The parties can agree to sell the house together and split the proceeds. If the marital home is to be sold, certain questions arise:

  • How will expenses be paid while the home is listed for sale?
  • What proceeds from the sale are to be divided?'
  • Are there any claims to contribution (Crawford Credits) to be awarded to change how the the sales proceeds will be divided? 

If there is no net equity in the marital home, divorcing individuals should speak with their attorney about a short sale. A short sale involves the lender agreeing to take a lower amount of money for the home, and once that amount has been paid, the original debt will be cancelled. You should be aware, however, that short sales can harm your credit and they may come with a variety of tax implications.

Option #3: Allow The Court Order a Sale in Lieu of Partition 

When parties own the house together as tenants by the entireties and are unable to reach an agreement to refinance or sell the house together, the court will order a sale in lieu of partition. In this situation, the court will typically order the house be auctioned and the net proceeds divided equally between the parties. 

Option #4: Family Use Personal Property 

The Court may postpone disposing the house for up to three years if the home is family use personal property. Typically, this is when the court finds it is in the best interests of the children to continue residing in the marital home. 

Responsibility For The Home During Separation 

When two spouses own land together, they are considered cotenants. The law states that, "Ordinarily, a co tenant who pays the mortgage, taxes, and various carrying charges of jointly-owned property is entitled to contribution from the other." The purpose of the equitable right of contribution is to prevent one spouse from unjustly enriching himself or herself because the other spouse is paying the mortgage. The court determines whether to credit one spouse for contribution towards the maintenance of the marital home on a case-by-case basis. As a recent publication from the Baltimore County Bar Association recently noted, exceptions to the rule of contribution exist in the case of ouster, agreement between the parties, or where mortgage/home-related payments are made by selling marital property. 

Call 410-321-4994 To Meet With Towson Divorce, Child Custody & Family Law Lawyer Amar S. Weisman.

Please Call (410) 321-4994 during business hours to schedule a free consultation for the purpose of deciding whether you want to retain Amar S. Weisman. The firm does not accept pro bono clients at this time. To retain legal services and advice, you must pay a retainer, See Policy on Fees/Costs. The law firm is located in the heart of Towson near The Circuit Court For Baltimore County, Towson Town Center, Goucher College and Towson University, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road (MD-146), Second Floor Towson, MD 21204. We represent clients throughout the Baltimore area including Aberdeen, Abingdon, Baldwin, Bel Air, Bowleys Quarters, Brooklandville, Carney, Catonsville, Cockeysville, Edgewood, Essex, Garrison, Glen Arm, Greenspring Valley, Homeland, Hunt Valley, Hydes, the Joppa Road Corridor, Kingsville, Long Green, Lutherville, Middle River, Nottingham, Owings Mills, Parkville, Pikesville, Perry Hall, Reisterstown, Riderwood, Rodgers Forge, Rosedale, Ruxton, Sparks, Sparrows Point, Stoneleigh, Timonium, Towson, West Towson,  White Hall,  White Marsh, and the York Road corridor. We have also represented a number of out-of-state clients. The law firm does not guarantee the results in any matter.