Until Debts Do Us Part: Settling Marital Debts

Most divorce proceedings involve the splitting of marital assets between the couple. As both have equal access to the assets they have accumulated during the time they were married, the court has to divide them equally between them, as well.

financeOnly few are aware, however, that apart from assets, couples have to factor in marital debts. Any debts incurred — whether as an individual or a couple — will eventually be divided. Depending on which state you live in, there are governing rules that dictate whether you share the responsibility of paying the debt or not.

Equitable distribution

In states like Florida, dividing debts is done through equitable distribution. In this setup, the judge and attending lawyer determines which debt goes to whom. This can be a highly contested proceeding, so you might need an experienced West Palm Beach divorce lawyer to help you. Whether your dues are small or not, it is still important to distribute all marital liabilities fairly.

Community Property State

In community property jurisdictions like Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin, the court sees any liabilities couples incurred while married as a shared responsibility. This means that in an event that they decide to go their separate ways, they have to split up the dues equally.

The court also sees that when one party made a purchase without the knowledge of the other, even if the other’s name is not included in the title, they are still both liable for it. Alaska is not a community property state per se, but it does allow couples to enter a community property arrangement.

Divorce proceedings and splitting debts can be overwhelming, but with the help of a good divorce lawyer, you can get through the ordeal with less stress. Do not allow yourself to get into a bad financial situation, and know more about the rules in your state about marital debts and divorce.