Is my spouse legally responsible for returning my house key after they move out?
I have not been retained as your attorney so I cannot give you legal advice. However, I can offer some general information that may help you.
If Maryland is similar to the state that I am licensed to practice in, Arkansas, whether or not your spouse has to return the house key depends on where you are procedurally in the divorce and what any outstanding court orders, if any, say.
If there is a final order (divorce decree) that has awarded the home to you, then the house key will likely have to be returned to you since, I assume by these facts, you are not giving your spouse permission to have a key or to be in the home. If there has been no final order and you and your spouse are separated, then you and your spouse both have claim to the house until and unless a court order says otherwise.
Of course, if there is a court order that says you have the house temporarily or that any keys need to be returned to you, then this order is controlling.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.