Most often spouses own the marital home as joint tenants (“tenants by the entirety”). In that situation they are joint owners with equal legal right to the property. However, there are times where only one spouse owns the home and wishes to have the partner removed from the house. Can the non-titled spouse be evicted?
When there are minor children of the parties, either party, regardless of whether he or she is the owner of the house, can request a use and possession order of the family home from the court. In that situation, in the best interest of the children, the right to remain the home can be secured in court. At times as well, in a domestic violence case, a protective order can include a provision for use and possession of the marital home.
However, assuming there are no children involved or no such protective order, the spouse who owns the marital home can attempt to secure possession either by peaceful means (“lockout”) or by filing an action in the District Court of Maryland. The party who is the sole titled owner of the home in fact has the legal right to control who lives there and that right is protected by law. The District Court can issue an order for the removal of the spouse who is not an owner of the home.
However, at times District Court judges may be hesitant to involve themselves in what is perceived as being a divorce case. The spouse not in title may say that the home is “marital property.” Generally, that term is applied only at the time of the absolute divorce in connection with the divorce judge making a monetary award to one party or the other; it does not generally grant a right to possess the marital property. Since the home in this case is owned by only one spouse, the other spouse has no legal right under real estate law to remain in the home. Nevertheless, it should be known that the District Court often will hesitate in granting this relief.
The Baltimore Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, Can Help
This question is a complicated one, and often delicate to resolve. It is strongly recommended that you contact a divorce attorney if this is an issue you are contemplating. The divorce lawyers at the Hunt Valley, Maryland law firm of Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, can provide you with the answers to your questions and legal representation you need to navigate complex family law issues. Our offices are easily accessible from all areas throughout Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, including the Baltimore, Towson, Essex, Columbia, Bel Air and Westminster. Call our law offices at (443) 589-0150 or contact us online.