Martial Claims Glossary
Tenancy by the Entirety Exemption refers to a very important exemption used in Maryland. The exemption protects 100% of the value, without limits, of all property of every kind that is owned by both spouses. This means that no matter how much the asset is worth, the value will not be subject to either the Chapter 7 Liquidation or the Chapter 13 Liquidation Analysis described above. There are important exceptions to this rule, and we will advise if appropriate. But the most important exception is that the rule does not apply with regard to JOINT unsecured debts. In other words, if both spouses owe a credit card, tax, or some other type of unsecured debts, then the Tenancy by the Entirety exemption is diluted but only by the amount of that joint unsecured debts. Using the information you give us, we hope to know and advise you about this and other exceptions if they apply in your case. It is important in this circumstance that you advise us of any property you owned before marriage.
The 180-day rule refers to the bankruptcy law that says certain things go to the trustee for liquidation if they happen within 180 days of the day the case is filed. The circumstances this rule applies to are:
1) Divorce: If you are awarded a judgment of divorce within 180 days, then the property in the bankruptcy case is re-evaluated as if the tenancy by the entirety exemption did not apply, and anything you obtain during the divorce proceedings can become part of a liquidation or liquidation analysis
2) Death: if you obtain assets of any kind due to life insurance, a will or an inheritance, those assets can become part of the liquidation or liquidation analysis.
Maryland does not recognize “family representation.” This means that we cannot represent family members other than you and your spouse. There may be times when preserving your goals and rights means that others in your family might be impacted. If that occurs, we cannot provide those family members with guidance or advice.
Joint Bankruptcy Cases. The law permits two persons who are married to file one bankruptcy case. This is the only circumstance in which a “joint” case may be filed. As such, Federal law permits us to represent both spouses, but Maryland law requires us to obtain certain waivers from each of you. If joint representation becomes adversarial OR if we come to the conclusion that the two of you have a direct legal conflict of interest, then we will withdraw from representing both of you. If this is a joint case, we will provide details in other documents and notices.