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Who gets to live in the family home?

Especially if you have children in your marriage, you might be wondering who gets to keep the family home during and after divorce. This article looks at a key legal concept that could clarify this issue.

Please note that all outcomes depend on the facts of your case. For relevance, up-to-date information and legal precision, your best resources are likely to be the latest applicable Maryland laws.

Who gets the house?

The court might be able to give you or your spouse the right to temporarily stay in the family home. The term would be awarding use and possession.

For example, if the court awarded you sole use and possession, you would be able to live in the house and use it normally. Your spouse would not be able to live in the house.

What about the things in the house?

Use and possession could also extend to various types of property. The most common possessions in these orders are the ones you would normally associate with domestic life. Examples include large appliances, cars and home furnishings.

An interesting point about this is that the court could award the use and possession of something even if you or your spouse owned it independently. Joint property is also eligible. However, property that someone inherited, received as a gift, or obtained before the marriage might not be eligible.

The marital home has the potential to be a major point of contention during asset division. If you feel that you need to continue living in it for your sake and for your children’s sake, it might behoove you to take a strategic approach to your divorce.

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