The state of Maryland is an equitable distribution state. This means that assets held in a marital estate are divided in a manner that is considered fair to both parties in the event that a marriage comes to an end. Of course, it’s not uncommon for married couples to accumulate debt during the course of their relationship, which must be accounted for in a divorce settlement.
Is your name on an account?
If your name is on a mortgage, credit card or auto loan account, you’re technically responsible for that debt regardless of what a divorce decree says. This is because the contract that you have with a lender trumps such a document. It may be a good idea to refinance any loans that your spouse is responsible for repaying so that you are no longer associated with them.
What factors are used when splitting debts in divorce?
In some cases, joint debts are split evenly as part of a property division settlement. However, if one spouse earns significantly more than the other, that person may be liable for paying a larger percentage of any balances remaining at the time of a divorce. If a debt is considered to be your spouse’s separate property, it’s unlikely that you will be required to pay it.
If you are planning to get a divorce, it’s a good idea to gather as many financial documents as you can get before filing any paperwork. Doing so may make it easier to obtain a fair and equitable settlement. Depending on the facts of your case, this may mean that you aren’t responsible for paying any joint debts that were accumulated during the course of your relationship.