If I move out of the home, can my husband avoid paying me for my share of the home on grounds of desertion?

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If I move out of the home, can my husband avoid paying me for my share of the home on grounds of desertion?

My husband and I have a separation agreement stating that he will pay me my percent of the house by a certain date. That date is past and I have moved out and still waiting. Is there any legal way he can get out of paying me because I left the home?

Asked on February 3, 2011 under Family Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, in MD a couple typically must be separated for 1 year before an absolute divorce decree is granted.  If the parties can come to a separation agreement concerning these issues at any time after they are physically separated, it can greatly speed up a final resolution.  As a general rule, at the time of the divorce, the terms of the separation agreement are incorporated into the decree and become enforceable by law (although in some circumstances a court can modify the agreement).  Where a separation agreement has been incorporated into a divorce decree, the terms are enforceable either through contempt proceedings or as an independent contract.

As long as you have such a separation agreement, that should negate any claim of desertion.  However MD law provides for desertion and "constructive desertion".  This can all get complicated and confusing so you should consult directly with a divorce attorney in your area. 


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