Real Property Received As A Gift And Titled To Husband And Wife
We recently represented the wife in a case appealed to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, Smith v Smith, 996 A.2d 416; 2010 Md. App. LEXIS 92 (Md. App. 2010). One issue in the case involved the proper treatment in equitable distribution of real property conveyed by husband’s mother to husband and wife as tenants by the entirety.
Husband contended that his mother really intended to give the real property to him and he suggested that the deeds be to him and wife for convenience – so that his wife would not have to go through probate in the event of his death. Husband conceded that the real property was marital property but contended the trial court should have given him a monetary award based on his contribution of the property. Contributions of non-marital property 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 Court of Special Appeals agreed with us that the property was marital and the deed was conclusive evidence that husband’s mother gave the property to both parties. Husband’s mother, the donor of the property, was deceased and could not testify so the deed was the only evidence of her intent. Therefore husband’s contribution to acquisition of this property was equal to wife’s – zero, and the trial court did not err in declining to grant him a monetary award.