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Maryland Division Of Family Home & Family Property

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When a married couple elects to pursue divorce or annulment under Maryland law, they must figure out how to divide their property. In certain cases, a premarital agreement or similar contract establishes these property rights before the marriage ends. But in many cases, the Maryland courts help the spouses figure out property division issues, including those related to the family home and any family property.

Definition of Family Home & Property

The definitions of the family home and family property appear under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-201. Under this section, the term “family home” refers to a property located in Maryland that:

  • Was the principal residence of the spouses when they lived together;
  • Is owned or leased by at least one of the spouses at the time of divorce; and
  • Will continue to serve as the principal residence of at least one spouse and a child.

The family home under Section 8-201 does not include any property:

  • Obtained before the marriage;
  • Acquired via inheritance or gift; or
  • Excluded by a valid contract between the spouses.

Under Section 8-201, the term “family property” refers to any property:

  • Obtained during the marriage;
  • Owned by one or both of the spouses; and
  • Utilized principally for family reasons.

Family property under Section 8-201 can include:

  • Motor vehicles;
  • Furniture;
  • Furnishings; and
  • Household appliances.

Family property under Section 8-201 does not include property:

  • Acquired via inheritance or gift; or
  • Excluded by a valid contract between the spouses.

Possession & Use of Family Home & Property

The rules concerning possession and use of the family home and family property appear under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-208. In the process of granting an annulment or divorce, the Maryland courts may:

  • Award sole possession and use of the family home and property to one spouse; or
  • Divide possession and use of the family home and property between the spouses.

When determining possession and use of the family home and property, the Maryland courts must consider the following factors:

  • The best interests of any child involved;
  • The interest of either spouse in continuing the use the family home or property for residential purposes;
  • The interest of either spouse in continuing the use the family home or property for commercial purposes;
  • The hardship, if any, imposed by awarding possession and use of the family home or property.

Financial Responsibility for Family Home & Property

Section 8-208 also details the rules for allocating financial responsibility for the family home or property. The Maryland courts may require one spouse or both spouses to pay for:

  • Mortgage payments or rent;
  • Indebtedness related to the property;
  • Maintenance, insurance, assessments, and taxes; or
  • Similar expenses related to the property.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you need legal assistance with property division under Maryland law, it can be helpful to contact a Bel Air property division attorney. Reach out to the attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered for more information.

SOURCES:

mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Laws/StatuteText?article=gfl&section=8-201&enactments=false

mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Laws/StatuteText?article=gfl&section=8-208&enactments=False&archived=False

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