It depends how the property is titled. If the property is titled in one spouse’s name, only the spouse who owns the home can keep the property, because the court does not have the authority to transfer the home title in one spouse’s name to the other spouse. The house that is titled in only one spouse’s name is still marital property and the spouse who doesn’t have title to the home can ask the court for a monetary award to account for their interest in the home.
If the property is titled in both names and is used by the spouse as their principal place of residence, either spouse can ask the court to transfer the property to them. The court has the discretion again, assuming both spouses have the ability to refinance the home to remove the other spouse from the mortgage, if there is a mortgage, to transfer the home to either spouse. Or a court may order the home to be sold and proceeds divided equally. For other marital property, such as furniture in the home, the court can order the furniture sold and proceeds divided.
Vince Wills and Christina DeVault are divorce attorneys from Maryland. A Fellow of the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Vince has co-authored numerous published articles on family law topics. Super Lawyers has named him as a top attorney for Maryland and the Washington Metropolitan area. Christina’s practice includes representing clients at all stages of family law, helping her clients make important decisions with confidence.