Maryland courts have limited ability to directly address credit cards, car
loans, and other consumer debt in the divorce context. The
obligations may be considered as a factor in a marital property
monetary award and in determining an alimony award.
In 1989, the Court of Special Appeals (Maryland's intermediate
appellate court) pointed out that, at common law, a Maryland court
may not require one spouse to satisfy joint obligations of the parties
such as mortgages and taxes on real property, or pay the interest on
joint promissory notes.
Bankruptcy may or may not be a useful option for some parties. Under
11 U.S.C. § 707(b), if a debtor earns in excess of the state median
income and is able to repay 25% of his or her "nonpriority unsecured
debt," the debtor will be ineligible for Chapter 7 protection and must
proceed under Chapter 13. Effective March 15, 2009, the Maryland
median family income was $55,543 for a single wage-earner, $73,947
for a family of two, $84,952 for a family of three, and $103,719 for a
family of four.
In addition, the automatic stay provisions of 11 U.S.C. § 362 -- which
keep some creditors from proceeding with collection efforts -- might
temporarily or permanently interfere with certain aspects of divorce
Limitations on court-ordered remedies place a premium in these
situations on mediated, collaborated, or negotiated agreements
|Who gets stuck with joint consumer loans and
credit card debt when a couple gets divorced?
NOTICE: None of the contents of this page constitutes legal
advice. To obtain legal advice, consult with an attorney. This is
especially important in divorce and family law matters, in which
outcomes are often peculiar to the particular facts and
circumstances of the case.
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