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Don't forget about debt during property division

When many Maryland spouses are preparing to divorce, the division of marital wealth is a top area of concern. This is understandable, as the outcome of the property division process will shape the financial lives of both parties for many years to come. When considering property division, it's critical to understand the role that debt plays during that process.

Existing debt must be divided in much the same way as existing assets. In some cases, that can mean that one spouse is forced to assume a share of debt that he or she took no active role in creating. However, without a properly structured legal approach, that outcome is a strong possibility.

There are certain cases where debt is clearly the responsibility of one party. Student loans, existing liens present at the time of marriage, and credit card debt brought into the union are common examples. However, debt that is taken on during the course of a marriage is a different matter entirely. Courts are very likely to order a strict 50-50 division of such debt.

For Maryland spouses who are facing a serious debt issue not of their own making, it's never too early to take an aggressive legal stance on the matter. Working with a family law attorney can help a spouse mount a strong legal argument pertaining to how debt should be divided. With the right combination of compelling evidence and testimony, courts can be convinced to take a closer look at the division of marital debt during property division cases.

Source: madison.com, "You Could Get Stuck With Your Spouse's Debt in Divorce", Christy Bieber, Nov. 16, 2017

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