The fate of the marital home usually takes center stage during a divorce. After all, it is where you and your spouse lived together for several years, and you probably never expected to lose or leave it. The classification of the marital home is commonly marital property during a Maryland divorce. However, under certain circumstances, it could also fall under separate property. How you or your spouse acquired the marital home plays a significant role in its classification.
When the marital home is marital property
Maryland laws will consider your home marital property if you or your spouse purchased it while already married. Any real estate either spouse acquired during the marriage is subject to an equitable division between the parties upon the divorce. You should also know that if you and your spouse hold the marital home as tenants by the entirety, it is part of your marital property.
When the marital home is non-marital or separate property
Any real estate obtained prior to the marriage is separate property, meaning it remains the property of the person who owned it before the marriage. It does not matter whether you two were already living together at the time of the purchase. As long as the person who owns the marital home did not gift it to their spouse or include their spouse’s name in the title, it may still be considered separate property during the divorce. Therefore, it will not be subject to property division.
Additionally, if you or your spouse received the home as a gift from a third party or by inheritance, then the state laws consider it as separate property. Consequently, if someone generous gifted your marital home to you, or left it behind in a will – in those cases, the home struts down the aisle as ‘non-marital property’ and often stays with you, the original owner.
When the marital home is part marital, and part separate
Suppose you purchased the home before the marriage, making it separate property. When you use marital funds to pay for the mortgage or make improvements on your home, it becomes part marital and part separate property. The spouse who does not own the marital home may be eligible to receive an equitable percentage of its increased net value in the property division proceedings of your divorce. Commingled assets are notoriously difficult to divide.
Remember, Maryland loves fairness, so the courts slice the marital property pie based on what is fair, which is not always a 50-50 split. If you are going through a divorce and want to figure out how your beloved home fits into the grand equation, you would need a thorough understanding of state laws.