Divorce does not absolve debt. Any debt that a couple accrues when they are together must be paid, even after the marriage ends. So, what happens when couples cannot agree on how to repay their outstanding debt?
Division of debt is closely tied to the division of property. Therefore, if a separating couple cannot agree on how to divide their marital property, they most likely cannot find common ground on debt division. In such cases, the court usually steps in to set the record straight.
Debts are divided equitably in Maryland
When dividing the marital estate, debts included, Maryland is an equitable distribution state. Equitable division is based on fairness, which means that what either spouse will end up with does not necessarily have to be equal. Eventually, you may end up with more debt than your ex, based on various factors. These include:
- The age and health of either spouse;
- Their economic circumstances; and
- The duration of the marriage, among others.
In some cases, debts obtained in bad faith are usually assigned to the responsible party. For example, this can happen when your former spouse decides to max out on credit card debt with unjustifiable purchases days or months before the pending divorce.
Protecting your finances
It is important to note that even if the court divides debts between you and your former spouse, creditors can still come after you if your ex fails to pay up. This is because you are still legally obligated to repay the debt if you cosigned it with your ex. In such a case, it may be prudent to reach out to the creditor and agree on a repayment plan as you decide on the way forward with your ex.
Your financial security post-divorce is something you should not take lightly, and you need to be fully involved in the property division process. It will ensure that you do not end up with more debt than you deserve in the end.