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Dealing with family use personal property

The common assumption held by many in Rockville may be that when a couple chooses to get a divorce, all of their marital property will be equitably split between them. While the court does indeed attempt to ensure that whatever property division settlement that comes out of divorce proceedings is fair, that does not necessarily mean that all of a divorcing couple’s property will literally be split up equally. This is especially true in cases where a couple has children. In such a scenario, the idea of “family use personal property” comes into play. 

“Family use personal property” is defined as any whose primary purpose is to support a family’s daily functions. According to the Maryland Department of Human Services, this can include: 

  • Homes
  • Vehicles
  • Furniture
  • Appliances 

The need for a divorcing couple’s family use personal property will vary based on the outcome of their child custody proceedings. 

Section 8-208 of Maryland’s Family Code shows that the court may indeed award sole possession and the right-of-use of such property to only one party to a divorce. In deciding whether or not to take this course of action, the court will consider what the best interests of the children involved in the case are, as well as the interest of each party in continuing to use such property as well as any infringement that either might experience in losing his or her interest in it. 

Even in cases where the court awards sole possession of a divorced couple’s family use personal property to one side, it may order both to continue to pay for it. Those who are not awarded family use personal property might be given ownership of other contested marital assets as compensation. 

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