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Can A Spouse Force A Jointly Owned Home Sold Before Divorce?
In Maryland, prior to divorce, one spouse cannot force the sale of a jointly owned home, which spouses own as tenants by the entireties.
"Tenants by the entireties" property entitles each spouse to use of the entire property and no right to lease, dispose of or encumber the property without both spouses' consent.
Upon divorce, the Court can order the sale of a jointly owned home. The Court can also award use and possession of the home to a spouse who has custody of a minor child for up to 3 years after the divorce. The home would then be sold upon expiration of the use and possession period.
After the divorce, if there is no use and possession order, one spouse can force the sale of a jointly owned home because it is no longer owned as tenants by the entireties. Upon divorce, title held as tenants by the entireties converts to tenants in common.
Maryland Family Law recognizes eight different grounds for divorce. Adultery, voluntary separation (for at least 12 months), imprisonment (with a sentence of at least three years and at least 12 months already served), and living separate and apart (for at least two years), are among some of the reasons. For the court to grant a divorce based upon any of these grounds, they must be proved in court through evidence and testimony.
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