Middletown, MD asked in Divorce for Maryland

Q: My husband got the house in divorce settlement. He is selling got papers from realtor to sign so he can sell. Should I?

Will I be liable for any tax that may be owed?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: You have to do what your agreed settlement terms require you to do, or you will be liable to him for his legal fees and other costs incurred to force you to do so under court order. So, to that end, if you are uncertain as to what you agreed to do, take your settlement agreement (or divorce judgment) to a lawyer and get advice as to what it is you are required to do. As for taxes, generally the person who owns and gets the benefit of the house is solely responsible for the taxes, but again, review your settlement agreement or judgment terms. The tax issue is unrelated to your obligation to sign the deed to allow the transfer of ownership. It is eaither addressed specifically or by legal implication of the settlement terms, and you cannot hold up the sale on the basis of any tax impications, since they are what they are and you already agreed to those terms. When you sell a house, all property and transfer taxes are paid out of the sales proceeds at settlement, and the only potential personal taxes owed would be the capital gains tax to the seller(s) of the property that exceed the exemption amount (capital gains tax is imposed on the amount of profit on the sale, so if you purchased the house at $200,000, and sold for $400,000, then there is a capital gain of $200,000, but there is a $250,000 exemption applied first to all net profits on the sale of a personal residence, and $500,000 for married couples, so in this example, the $200,000 net profit/capital gain does not exceed the exemption amount and there is NO TAX due). Therefore, unless you gave away a huge equitable interest in your marital home as part of your divorce,

then there is not going to be a capital gains tax owed by anyone.

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