Mother’s Gift to Couple Is Marital


During their marriage, Mr. Smith’s mother conveyed real estate to her son and his wife, jointly.  In their divorce, we represented Mrs. Smith.  Mr. Smith contended that his mother really intended to give the property to him.  But he told her to make the deed jointly to him and his wife for convenience, so that his wife would not have to go through probate in the event of his death.  The mother was deceased at the time of the trial.

He asked the trial court to give him a monetary award based on his contribution of the real property to the marriage. Contribution to the acquisition of property titled to the parties as tenants by the entirety is a factor that the court must consider in determining whether to make a monetary award. Md. Code, Family Law Article, Sec. 8-205(b)((9).

The trial court ruled the real property was marital and ordered it sold and the proceeds divided equally.  The husband appealed.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals held that the deed was conclusive evidence that husband’s mother gave the property to both parties.  Therefore the husband’s contribution to acquisition of this property was equal to wife’s, that is zero, and the trial court did not err in declining to grant him a monetary award.  Smith v Smith, 996 A.2d 416; 193 Md.App. 29 (2010).