Tag Archive for: mortgage

Roger Broseus, Ph.D. married Isadel Broseus in 1970.  They had a child in 1981.  They jointly owned a three-bedroom house in Gaithersburg.  In 1985 Roger took the minor child and left the martial home.  He obtained custody of the child and use and possession of the family home and moved back in.  Isadel was forced to leave and rent an efficiency apartment.  Her car was repossessed for failure to make payments.

Roger made the mortgage payments on the house during the four years between separation and divorce.  Roger asked the court to order isadel to reimburse him for a portion of these payments claiming the right of contribution.

The trial court denied his claim and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed, for these reasons:

  1. Roger’s payments on the house were for the support of his wife and child.
  2. He had the use of the premises without having to pay rent.
  3. He took the tax deductions for the house.
  4. It was unreasonable for him to believe his wife would be able to contribute in view of her financial situation.
  5. Most importantly, he used his income to make the payments, which income was martial property.

The court said contribution is not a matter of right and is within the sound discretion of the trial court.

Broesus v. Broseus 370 A2d 874 (Md.App. 1970)

A few years ago one of our lawyers described our typical divorce case like this.  A couple marries, buys a house, divorces three years later, sells the house and each spouse walks away with $50,000.  If they weren’t married, they would be happy with this partnership and call it successful, instead of hating each other.

But in this market, housing prices have plummeted to values sometimes below the balance due on the mortgage.  Divorce negotiations have turned from how to split up the sales proceeds to who gets stuck with the house.

Even when one spouse agrees to take over the underwater house and the mortgage payments, the other spouse may have to keep their name on the mortgage which may make it difficult to buy another house.