What Happens to Family Property After a Maryland Divorce?
During the process of completing a divorce in Maryland, property division is an important consideration. Essentially, the soon-to-be former spouses must decide how to split up their marital assets, including any family property. In this context, the term “family property” refers to both family home and family use personal property.
Family Home vs. Family Use Personal Property
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-201 defines the terms family home and family use personal property. Under the section, the family home refers to a property that:
- Both spouses used as a primary residence while living together;
- At least one spouse currently owns or leases; and
- Either spouse and a child will live in moving forward.
The family home does not include property that either spouse acquired before marriage or received directly from a third party. It is also possible to execute a written agreement that excludes a property from consideration as the family home.
Under Section 8-201, family use personal property refers to any tangible, personal property that was/is:
- Obtained during marriage;
- Owned by one or both spouses; and
- Utilized primarily for family purposes.
Family use personal property can include property such as motor vehicles, household appliances, furniture, and furnishings. Family use personal property does not include property that was excluded by a valid agreement or that either spouse received directly from a third party.
State Policy on Family Property
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-206 establishes the state police on family property. In exercising judicial powers relative to family property, the Maryland state courts must:
- Prioritize children staying in the same environment and community to which they are accustomed; and
- Enable any person with custody over these children to remain in the family home and maintain possession and use of family use personal property.
Determination of Family Property
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-207 provides the procedure for determining what qualifies as family property. Under this section, the Maryland state courts determines which property qualifies as the family home and family use personal property:
- Before the court approves the limited or absolute divorce; or
- When the court approves the limited or absolute divorce.
Possession & Use of Family Property
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-208 details how the state courts determine possession and use of family property. It does not matter how family property was titled, owned, or leased before the divorce. When granting a request for limited or absolute divorce, the Maryland state courts may:
- Award sole possession and use of family property to either spouse; or
- Divide possession and use of family property between the spouses.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about divorce, property division, or other aspects of Maryland family law, it can be thoroughly constructive to speak with an accomplished family law attorney. The Bel Air divorce attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including divorce and property division. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.