Crawford Credits entitle a payor spouse to a contribution from the non-payor spouse for expenses like the mortgage, repairs, taxes, etc. Crawford Credits get their name from Crawford v. Crawford, 293 Md. 307 (1982), a family law case from the Court of Appeals of Maryland.
Crawford Credits stem from a main tenant of real property law, which states that a co-owner of real property who pays for the expenses associated with the home is entitled to contributions from the other.
Therefore, a spouse who continues making payments on the home (mortgage payment, expenses, upkeep, etc) after another spouse stops is entitled to a credit for these payments.
Exceptions to Maryland’s Crawford Credits
Several exceptions exist when one is precluded from seeking the Crawford Credits. Consider the following situations:
- If one spouse throws the other spouse out of the home, it may be deemed unfair to ask to the spouse who was ousted to contribute to the expenses associated with that home. This exception is looked at by the court on a case-by-case basis, and there is no iron-clad exception for ouster.
- The owners may come to an agreement as to how the payments and expenses are to be paid. This agreement may preclude one from asking for the Crawford Credits later if the agreement is silent on this issue.
- If the payor spouse makes payments using “marital funds,” they cannot receive credit later. The reasoning is that, for example, if husband and wife split up, and the husband makes payments on the mortgage and uses money from a joint savings account, he is depleting money that will be divided upon divorce and should again receive credit for making the mortgage payments. Put another way, when the husband uses marital funds to make payments on the mortgage, it is really both he and his wife making these payments.
- A court will make sure that allowing for this credit to the payor is equitable. If allowing the payor to receive a contribution from the non-payor spouse will cause an unfair result, the court will not allow for contribution. The court will look at the totality of the circumstances, especially at what the payor spouse is separately ordered to pay (alimony, child support, etc.).
- There is no allowable claim for contribution when the parties are living together as a married couple.
To See How the Crawford Credits May Impact Your Divorce, Contact Us
As a Maryland family law attorney experienced in all aspects of divorce, including property division and settlement, I would be happy to answer your questions about domestic relations. My practice of law also includes criminal defense and disability law. Please do not hesitate to contact me via email or by calling 301-563-6685, ext 123 for questions about the Crawford Credits or for legal assistance on any family matter.