Towson Divorce Lawyers
The Marital Home in a Divorce
When a couple decides to divorce, the dissolution of the marital bond is just the first in a series of difficult decisions that have to be made. Along with child custody issues, alimony and division of property, deciding what to do with the marital home can become one of the most emotional and stressful decisions the couple must make. In Maryland divorce cases, equitable distribution laws are used to decide which spouse keeps the marital home and is based mostly on the financial needs of both spouses.
In all divorce cases, the more a couple can decide outside of the court system, the less costly and stressful the divorce proceedings will be. When the couple cannot amicably agree on divorce stipulations through negotiation or mediation, then a judge will need to get involved, which can become quite expensive and cause significant delays to the finalization of the divorce. In all phases of divorce proceedings, it is imperative to consult with a reputable divorce lawyer that can ensure that your rights are protected.
Equitable Distribution in Maryland
Maryland is a state that relies on equitable distribution laws to divide marital property, such as the marital home among divorcing couples. The courts will consider several factors in deciding the distribution of marital assets such as how long the marriage lasted; the financial status of each spouse; the physical, mental, and emotional health of each party; and the ages of the spouses. The courts consider only marital property in equitable distribution, which is defined as property that was attained during the marriage. Inheritances, gifts, and property acquired before the marriage took place are considered separate property and are excluded from equitable distribution. However, if a spouse owned property before the marriage but later added the spouse’s name to the deed, then that asset would be considered marital property.
Unlike community property states where marital property is divided equally, under equitable distribution laws, a court can award more assets to one spouse than the other, depending upon their needs. For example, a Maryland judge may deem it in the best interest of the couple and any children involved in the marriage to award the marital home to one spouse over another. Consideration of the spouse’s financial ability to maintain the mortgage, maintenance and property taxes are important. The judge will also give special consideration to a spouse that has custody of one of the children in the marriage or if they have a business tied to the property.
Exclusive Possession of the Home and Protective Orders
In some cases, a Maryland judge can grant one spouse exclusive possession of the home, which includes the right to live in the marital home and use the household furniture, car or other property for a temporary period of time, not to exceed three years. The spouse granted these exclusive rights must have been living in the home as their primary residence during the marriage and be the custodial parent of at least one natural born or adopted child from the marriage who will reside with the spouse after the divorce is finalized. These rights are generally terminated if the spouse in the home remarries or if the child living in the home turns 18 years old.
Maryland courts also have the power to force a spouse to vacate the marital home for a period of one year in cases of domestic violence. The abused spouse can apply for an immediate temporary protection order that can be granted without the abusive spouse present or notified at the time of judgment. The abused spouse can then petition the court for a final protective order that would grant them exclusive rights to the marital home for a period of one year.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Provide Experienced Counsel and Representation to Divorcing Couples
If you or someone you know is considering a divorce, the skilled team of Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC will ensure your legal rights and personal assets are protected throughout your divorce proceedings. Call us at 443-589-0150 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today.