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Do I have to leave my home if I’m getting divorced?

Current Maryland laws do not require couples to live apart if they choose to separate or seek a divorce. They may both live together in the same home for as long as they wish. The only residency requirement is that at least one partner must live in the state when the divorce request is filed.

Some couples decide to stay in the same home because it allows them to effectively co-parent. They get to see their children every day and remain active in their lives. Others may have purely financial reasons for remaining in the house. One partner could be making significantly more money than the other. A spouse could have lost a job, gone back to school to earn a degree or had an operation or other medical issue that could have prevented them from working on a regular basis. They could also just be waiting until they have enough funds saved up to buy or rent their own home.

The rules are quite different for separated couples. If people want to separate but not seek a divorce yet, they cannot live together. A couple that is separated are not allowed to have sexual relations with one another or live in the same residence.

Parents can separate and file for a limited divorce. This type of divorce is temporary. Unlike an absolute divorce, a limited divorce will not end a marriage. It may be a good alternative for partners who need to figure out their living arrangements, child custody and visitation, alimony, work schedules and other issues.

Many courts do not allow a divorce between partners who have children together until they have been separated for at least a year or longer. Things may be easier if the spouses mutually consent to the divorce. It’s possible that an absolute divorce will be granted, but insanity, adultery, imprisonment by one or both partners for a crime and/or mutual consent must be given as reasons (or grounds) for that type of divorce. The grounds need to be proven in a court of law before an absolute divorce is allowed, which may be very difficult to prove in certain cases.

Who decides who keeps the marital home?

Partners can mutually decide who lives in the marital home. It may be spelled out in their separation or marital settlement agreement. If the couple has children, their best interests should be given top priority when asset division is being considered.

Does it matter whose name the house is in?

The name on the property deed will be examined when assets are divided in a divorce. A judge will also look at when the home was purchased. If the residence was acquired during the marriage, it can be considered marital property. Marital property is subject to asset division. If the home was bought before the marriage started, it may or may not be viewed as marital property. It’s possible that one partner could be granted use and access to the family home even if the property deed is not in their name.

Will the judge determine who can own our house during the divorce proceedings?

If a couple cannot decide which person will own and keep living in their home, the judge presiding over the divorce can make that determination for them. Assets are usually divided as evenly as possible. One person should not have an unfair advantage over their former partner.

Maryland is not a 50/50 state. There’s no guarantee that assets will be distributed equally. A judge’s discretion will be used when a home, vehicle and other substantial assets are to be split between people who are divorcing.

Courts can give one partner exclusive rights to use and access of the family home. A person may be awarded those privileges for up to three years after the divorce has been granted. The specific situation may dictate the length of time that this exclusivity will be valid for.

Exclusive ownership may also be given if one spouse has demonstrated a pattern of violence or other forms of abuse against their former partner or any children living in the home. In that instance, a spouse may request a temporary protective order. This order can ban the offender from the home for up to a year.

How long do I have to find another residence?

People who choose to leave the marital home do not need to find a different home within a certain time frame. They may take as much time as they want. Proximity to work, school, doctor’s offices, shopping centers and other points of interest may influence their decision.

If parents live apart from each other, one partner may be designated as the physical or custodial guardian of their children.

Can I still see my kids?

Parents can still visit their children whether they still live in the marital home or not. They may have developed a visitation schedule before getting divorced. Visitation could also be scheduled by the court that would take effect once the divorce has been granted.

Children are not allowed to choose which parent they want to live with until they turn 16. The child will need to petition the court if they want to alter the current custody agreement. Visitation rights end once one or both parents remarry or any affected children turn 18 years old, but the children may still opt to remain in contact with their parents afterwards if they wish.

Couples who are divorcing have a lot of concerns. They may wonder what will happen to them and their children in the future. If you have questions, we can help. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation. Our trained professionals will sit down with you and listen to what you have to say. We have enough experience in these kinds of matters to anticipate problems and advise you about possible actions that you can take. We can even represent you during the divorce if you want.

It’s normal for children and parents to fear or be intimidated by the end of a marriage. The relationships that they’ve built with grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, neighbors and others in their circle will undoubtedly change. That’s why it’s important to spell out child visitation and living arrangements. Having a plan put in place eliminates the guesswork. It can also provide a stable foundation that everyone can depend on. It’s one less thing to worry about, and allows families to make a new start so that they can get back to loving life again as soon as possible.