Am I wrong to require my spouse to assist in the payment of rent if we are not officially separated?

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Am I wrong to require my spouse to assist in the payment of rent if we are not officially separated?

My spouse is refusing to assist in paying rent, cable, the kids cell, and most any other household expense. He feels I make more and although he is working 7 days a week, he doesn’t need to pay. He says I made a comment that I pay all these he could at least pay electric. He let it become disconnected. He says now I said he only had to pay electric and is not required by MD law to pay anything else. He states that he is not required nor can be forced to pay any of the household things (i.e. rent and utilities). Will I be in the right as long as I pay half of rent and notify the landlord

Asked on July 6, 2011 under Family Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

This is not as easy a question as it seems to give guidance on here.  Generally speaking, you and your spouse are both liable for the payment of your joint debts - the rent, the cable, the cell phones, etc. - but the agreements that you made with each of these service providers is the reality of how it is going to effect you here.  First, if you both signed the lease then you signed it "jointly and severally" and the landlord is going to come after both of you.  If the cable is in your name - even if it is for the benefit of the household - then they are going to come after you, not him.  You can not just pay half as your service will be shut off and you will be evicted.  I think that it is time to get a lawyer and figure this out.  Good luck.


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