Dividing Up Debt


In previous articles, I discussed the differences in property distribution in a divorce in Maryland, Virginia and DC.  Another area where the law of our three local jurisdictions is not the same is allocation of debt in a divorce.

In the District of Columbia and in Virginia, the divorce court has authority to allocate debt between the parties in a divorce case.  D.C. Code Sec. 16-910(b); Va. Code Sec, 20-107.3.E.7, Turonis v Turonis, 2003 Va. App. LEXIS 130.

In Maryland there is no such general authority to allocate marital debt, although the court may consider the debts of the parties along with other economic circumstances in dividing marital property.  MD Code, Family Law Article 8-205(b)(3). Maryland courts can allocate responsibility for debt related to the family home in connection with use and possession orders, Md. Code Sec. 8-208(c), or orders transferring title to the principal residence of the parties.  Md. Code Sec. 8-205(a)(2)(iii).