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 typically 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 or transfer of the home to one spouse. 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 or transferred upon expiration of the use and possession period.

After the divorce, if there is no use and possession or transfer 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.

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