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Divorce Debt in Maryland

Divorce Debt Attorney in Rockville, Maryland

There are many financial problems that can arise during and after a divorce. Debts incurred during marriage may fall under the responsibility of one or both spouses. Property may have to be sold in order to pay off debts, or to divide assets fairly between the divorcing couple. A divorce debt attorney can help you understand and protect your rights during divorce proceedings.

The Kurland Law Group has divorce debt attorneys who have experience handling these types of cases in Rockville, Maryland. Call us today to schedule a consultation at our law office.

Why Do I Need a Divorce Debt Attorney in Maryland?

A divorce debt attorney is a divorce lawyer who helps their clients settle divorce-related debts. In divorce cases, it is not uncommon for one spouse to be saddled with the majority of the debt, which can make it difficult to move on financially after the divorce is finalized. A Maryland divorce debt attorney can help to negotiate a fair settlement between the two spouses, ensuring that both parties are able to walk away from the marriage without excessive financial burden. 

Kurland Law Group is a divorce law office located in Rockville, Maryland. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling divorce debt cases, and we are dedicated to helping our clients achieve the best possible outcome in their case. If you are facing divorce and are concerned about how you will handle the division of your debts, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a consultation. We will do everything we can to make sure that you can move on from your divorce without having to deal with debt.

What is divorce debt?

Divorce debt is defined as “the money one spouse owes the other spouse from the divorce.” Divorce debt can include things like credit card bills, mortgage payments, and even attorney’s fees. Divorce debt is oftentimes difficult for divorce attorneys because it can be hard to determine who is responsible for what debt. 

In some cases, divorce debt can even be used to justify a divorce. If you are considering divorce, it is important to speak with a divorce attorney to learn more about your options and how divorce debt might affect you. Kurland Law Group is a divorce law firm located in Rockville, Maryland that can help you understand your rights and options when it comes to divorce debt. Schedule a consultation today to learn more.

Which Comes First: Bankruptcy or Divorce?

Divorce and debt are two difficult life events on their own. But when they’re combined, the situation can become overwhelming. If you’re facing a divorce and significant debt, you may be wondering if filing for bankruptcy is a good option. 

There are benefits to filing for bankruptcy before or after a divorce. One benefit of filing before divorce is that it can help simplify the marital asset property division process. All of your debts will be dealt with in the bankruptcy, so you won’t have to worry about dividing them up between you and your spouse. 

Another benefit of filing for bankruptcy before a divorce is that it can give you a fresh start financially. You’ll be able to eliminate your debts and start over with a clean slate. This can be especially helpful if you’re facing a lot of debt from credit cards or medical bills. 

However, there are also some issues to consider before you decide to file for bankruptcy. One issue is that your divorce proceedings might not be final until after your bankruptcy case is completed. This means that you’ll have to continue dealing with your ex-spouse during the bankruptcy process. 

What Effects Do Bankruptcy and Divorce Have on Each Other?

divorce debt attorneyWhen a married couple decides to divorce, they must not only deal with the emotional turmoil of the breakup, but also with the complex financial ramifications. One key question is how to handle debts that have been incurred during the marriage. If one spouse files for bankruptcy, this can significantly impact the divorce proceedings. 

The first thing to understand is that bankruptcy will not stop a divorce from happening. However, it can delay the distribution of assets until after the bankruptcy case has been completed. This is because, in a divorce, all debts must be divided between the two spouses. But if one spouse files for bankruptcy, any joint debts discharged in the bankruptcy will no longer be the responsibility of either spouse. This can create problems if the other spouse is still liable for those debts. 

Filing for divorce can be a complex and time-consuming process, made even more complicated if one or both partners are dealing with a significant amount of debt. In many cases, the best way to deal with marital debt is to file for bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is quick, taking three to four months to complete, and it wipes out qualifying debt without the need to pay creditors through a repayment plan.

You’ll also be able to keep, or “exempt,” the property needed to work and live. The primary way a bankruptcy case will affect a divorce is that it can delay the distribution of assets. The bankruptcy trustee who will be in charge of your case will keep most of your assets in the bankruptcy estate and sell any that you can’t protect with a bankruptcy exemption, like your house.

The trustee will then distribute the funds to your creditors. If you’re entitled to a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these assets, you may have to wait until the bankruptcy case is completed before you receive your share. 

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the marital debt is considered joint and both spouses are responsible for repaying it. This can be a big problem for couples who are already struggling to pay their bills, and it’s one of the main reasons why the Maryland divorce lawyer at the Kurland Law Group recommends that couples file for bankruptcy before they divorce. By doing so, they can protect themselves from having to repay joint debts later on down the road. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy during your divorce, be sure to speak with a divorce debt super lawyers at the Kurland Law Group to learn more about your options.

Why File for Bankruptcy Under Chapter 7 Prior to Divorce?

If you and your spouse are considering a divorce, you may be wondering if it’s a good idea to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy first. While every situation is unique, there are some general benefits to doing so. First, filing for bankruptcy can help get rid of some of the debts that need to be split in an equitable way in a divorce.

This can include credit card balances, past-due utility and medical bills, and personal loans. Second, bankruptcy can also help eliminate any contracts that neither one of you wants to keep, such as an expensive car loan or a home mortgage that’s entirely underwater. Finally, if you file for bankruptcy before you get married, you may be able to increase your exemption amounts and protect more of your property.

And you can reduce court costs and attorneys’ fees by filing jointly before a divorce, as opposed to filing two bankruptcy matters after the divorce process. When it works, filing for Chapter 7 while married makes for a much simpler, cleaner dissolution.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy before divorce, it’s important to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. The Kurland Law Group provides high-quality legal services to clients in Rockville, Maryland and the surrounding area. We can help you understand your rights and options under the bankruptcy code and ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Before Divorce, You Must Pass the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Means Test.

If you’re considering filing for divorce, you’ll need to take a close look at your financial situation. One of the issues you’ll have to address is whether your combined income is low enough to qualify for Chapter 7. There are many times, the two spousal salaries together exceed the Chapter 7 “means test” maximum amount.

If that happens, you might not have a choice but to wait to file until after the divorce. But there are ways around this problem. For instance, if you’re separated and living apart, you’ll be able to reduce your income by deducting household expenses for both residences.

By contrast, if one spouse makes all the money, filing before the divorce will increase the chance of qualifying for a Chapter 7 for that spouse (both of you will be included as part of the household for purposes of the means test). Assisting the income-earning spouse by reducing debt through bankruptcy should make it easier for that spouse to pay support obligations, a win-win for all involved. 

Filing for bankruptcy before divorce can also help prevent your ex-spouse from inheriting your debts after the divorce is finalized. If you are considering bankruptcy before divorce, it is important to consult with an experienced Maryland divorce attorney to discuss your options and whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. 

Why File for Divorce Prior to Filing for Bankruptcy?

The divorce process can be complicated, and if you’re also dealing with financial issues, it can be even more challenging. One important question to consider is whether you should file for divorce before bankruptcy. Some people might think that it makes more sense to file for bankruptcy first, but there are some good reasons for divorcing first. For one thing, if your joint income is too high to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, divorcing first might make sense. 

Sometimes both spouses qualify individually after a divorce, even if they could not do it jointly. If you make significantly less than your spouse, you might be able to qualify for Chapter 7 after your divorce, too. Another reason to divorce first is that marital debt is generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy. So if you’re planning to file for bankruptcy anyway, divorcing first can help ensure that your divorce debt won’t become a problem. 

Divorce can be a tough process, both emotionally and financially. If you’re concerned about divorce debt, it’s important to understand your options and how to protect yourself. One way to do this is through proper asset planning. For example, if you take the house in the divorce, making sure the title and mortgage are transferred properly can help shield you from your ex-spouse’s creditors. 

However, it’s important to stay above board—a bankruptcy trustee has the power to undo certain transfers using clawback procedures, and you don’t want to find yourself accused of fraud. An experienced divorce debt attorney can help you understand your rights and options to make the best decisions for your situation. At Kurland Law Group, we’ve helped countless clients in Rockville, Maryland, navigate divorce debt and other financial challenges. We know what it takes to protect your interests and get you through this difficult time. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Bankruptcy and Marital Settlement Agreement

If you or your spouse are considering filing for divorce, it’s important to know how bankruptcy could potentially affect your divorce settlement agreement. Divorce debt can be complex, and it’s important to have an experienced family law, bankruptcy, and divorce law attorney on your side who can help navigate these waters. While various concerns could affect your bankruptcy, here are a few things to think about:

  • You might not want to agree to repay debts owed to you by your ex-spouse.

When you divorce, you and your spouse will be responsible for paying your own debts. However, in some cases, one spouse may be ordered by the court to pay debts that are in the other spouse’s name. If this happens, it’s important to understand your rights and obligations. This is why it’s important to consult with a divorce attorney who can help you understand your options and ensure that you’re protected. 

  • Understand the difference between a support order and a debt that must be paid after a property split.

During a divorce, the court often orders one spouse to pay child support or spousal support to the other. These payments are intended to help the recipient spouse with everyday living expenses. In some cases, the court will also order a property division settlement, when one spouse takes more property in exchange for an agreement that the other will pay its value over time. For instance, one spouse might take the car, house, or business in exchange for payment later.

Although support obligations are not dischargeable in Chapter 7 or 13, a debtor can eliminate a property division settlement in Chapter 13. This means that if you are struggling to make payments on a property settlement from your divorce, you may be able to get relief through bankruptcy.

Defining the difference between marital or community debt and separate debt

When a couple divorces, they must divide their assets and liabilities, including any debts they have incurred. Each state has its own divorce and debt rules, but the most essential factor is whether the debt was incurred before or during the marriage. “Separate debts” are debts that one spouse owes before or after the marriage or after the separation. During a divorce, these debts can’t be divided.

To be clear, in equitable distribution states, both spouses are responsible for the marital debt, which is referred to as “community debt” in community property states. Also, joint debts incurred before marriage (for example, opening a joint credit card prior to marriage) are generally considered marital debts and subject to division in divorce. 

Divorce is never easy, and one of the most complicated aspects can be untangling your shared finances. People in Maryland have to share all debts they accrue during their marriage, even if only one of them has their name on the account.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Student loans and gambling debts are two of the most common types of debt that may be exempt from this designation. Additionally, if one spouse spends money on extramarital affairs, that debt may also be distinct. 

Divorce Settlement Agreement

At the Kurland Law Group, we understand that divorce can be a difficult and emotional process. However, we also know that most couples are able to agree to the divorce process, often with the help of their attorneys or a trained family law mediator. When a matter is settled, the spouses sign a written settlement agreement (sometimes referred to as a “property settlement agreement” or “separation agreement”). This agreement is a binding contract between the spouses and is usually included in the divorce decree. 

Also, if you and your spouse had a legitimate prenuptial agreement (prenup) that addressed debts, the courts will generally follow the prenup’s terms. At the Kurland Law Group, we have extensive experience helping our clients navigate the divorce process, and we are here to help you every step of the way.

Marital Property in Maryland: Frequently Asked Questions

In a Maryland divorce, the Maryland court will divide property fairly between the spouses, but not always equally. This is because Maryland is an equitable distribution state, which means that the court will consider various factors when dividing property between divorcing spouses. The court may consider factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s income and earning potential, and whether either spouse has custody of minor children. 

The court may also consider any divorce debts that either spouse may owe. The experienced divorce attorneys at Kurland Law Group can help you understand how Maryland’s equitable distribution laws may affect your divorce. We can also help you negotiate a fair and equitable property division agreement with your spouse. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our Rockville, Maryland office.

Is Maryland a state that recognizes “community property”?

Not at all. In Maryland, no such thing exists. Instead, Maryland has an “equitable distribution” provision, which means the court can split the property in whatever way it deems fair. A spouse often gets half of the marital property.

What Is the Definition of Marital Property?

Marital property is a property that belongs to the marriage, not to one spouse or the other separate property. In most cases, marital property is real estate owned by both spouses as tenants in common. If this is not the case, the property is not marital property.

The marital property covers both spouses’ property accumulated during the marriage. Unmarried couples who have a valid agreement to keep their property separate may be exempt from the “marital” property rule.

When Does a Property Become “Acquired”?

Maryland courts define “acquired” as the ongoing process of paying payments on the property. The source of each payment determines whether the property is nonmarital or marital.

So, for example, if you bought a house before you were married and then took out a mortgage, it would be considered nonmarital property.

However, if both couples pay mortgages with marital funds, the property becomes partially marital. Md. Ann. Fam. Law 8-205.

What Happens If One Husband or Wife Wastes Marital Assets?

Dissipation happens when one spouse uses marital money for non-marital things while the marriage is still not working.

If one spouse used marital money to pay for a luxury vacation with a boyfriend or girlfriend, the court would have to figure out how much money that person spent.

If the court determines that one spouse’s asset dissipation constituted fraud, the court shall treat the dissipated property as if it still existed. This regulation is intended to deter either spouse from wasting marital assets.

Is Title Ownership a Factor in Whether or Not Property Is Marital?

Property owned as tenants in entirety by both spouses is considered marital regardless of the title paperwork. 8.201 (e) (2), Maryland Code Ann.

Property sold jointly may be sold and the proceeds divided. The court cannot transfer title ownership except for pensions, retirement, profit-sharing, or deferred compensation. (Md. Fam. Law 8-205 (2).)

What Is a “Monetary Award”?

It is a court order that one spouse pays the other. A court may order a monetary award to ensure that each spouse receives a fair share of the marital estate. For example, a court may order one spouse to pay the other if the residence is worth a lot of money to the pair. 8.205(c) Maryland Code Ann Fam.

Is There a Formula for Calculating a Monetary Award or Dividing Real Estate?

No. Regarding property division and monetary awards, the court weighs numerous considerations. Among them are:

  • What did each spouse do to help the family financially and otherwise?
  • Each spouse’s financial situation
  • How the marriage lasted
  • Each spouse’s age, health, and mental state
  • How and when some assets were purchased,
  • As to whether either spouse contributed separate property to a joint tenancy,
  • The court will decide whether the awarding spouse receives alimony or possession of the family home.
  • or any other criteria necessary to obtain a fair and equitable award (Md. Fam. Law 8-205b).

What’s the Difference Between Alimony and a Monetary Award?

Legal experts say alimony and monetary awards are “highly interconnected and intertwined.” A monetary award does not replace alimony, but the court must examine both to get a fair decision.

In a divorce, what happens to nonmarital property?

Nothing. The owner keeps the nonmarital or separate property. However, when a Maryland court is deciding money and alimony, it has to look at all people’s finances and assets, even if they’re not married.

An award from a court could be paid through non-marital assets by one of the spouses if the judge tells them.

What Exactly Is Marital Debt?

Marital debt is debt that is directly related to marital property acquisition. For example, a mortgage is a marital debt if a married couple purchases a home together and pays the down payment and mortgage installments together. The court must equally split marital debt and marital property.

How are debts divided?

A court cannot order one spouse to pay the other’s solo obligations or joint debts (such as mortgages and taxes on real property or interest on joint promissory notes). However, if one parent uses and/or possesses a house or car, the court can force the other parent to pay the mortgage or car payment.

A court order to settle one spouse’s debt does not modify the culpable spouse’s arrangement with the lender. A creditor can (and will) pursue you for the full amount owed if you and your spouse own a joint Home Depot credit card. After you pay, you can ask the judge to order your spouse to pay you back.

Is it possible for a court to grant one spouse the sole right to temporary use and possession of property?

A spouse with a child custody of a minor child may be granted use and possession of the family house, car, furniture, and appliances. When a judge grants possession, it is called a “use and possession award.”

This type of award takes into account:

  • child’s best interests.
  • the parties’ interests in maintaining the property as a residence or source of revenue,
  • hardship or the burden, if any, on the party whose interest would be violated (that is, the parent who does not obtain possession)  (Md. Code Ann. Fam. Law 8-208.)

What Is the Duration of a Use and Possession Award?

Use and possession must end three years after the court finalizes the divorce. (See Maryland Code Ann. Fam. Law 8-210 for more information.)

Can an Order to Pay Expenses Be Included in a Use and Possession Award?

Yes. The financial responsibility for property that is the subject of a use and possession award might be assigned by the court, including mortgage or rent payments, payment of other debts on the property, and maintenance and other ownership expenditures. (See Maryland Code Ann. Fam. Law 8-208 for more information.)

Call our divorce debt attorney now!

If you are facing divorce debt, you need the experienced divorce debt attorney at Kurland Law Group on your side. Based in Rockville, Maryland, with over 25 years of experience representing clients in divorce and debt proceedings. We understand the unique challenges you are facing and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and interests. 

With our extensive knowledge of the law and our commitment to client service, we will help you navigate this difficult time and achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

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