If you are like many Florida residents, you have some level of debt hovering over your head. This may not seem like a big deal, until you go to get a divorce. Who is responsible for paying these debts, you or your soon-to-be ex?
When going through the divorce process, you may be more concerned about what positive assets you get to keep. You cannot forget about your negative assets either, though. Someone has to take responsibility for them. They do not just go away because your marriage is over.
You or your spouse?
The state looks at a number of things before dividing debt between spouses. Some of these include:
- If the debt is shared
- If the debt belonged to one party before the marriage
- If the debt was accrued by one party after the marriage
How the debt came to be really does matter. The state will take ownership into consideration when deciding how it should be split between you and your spouse.
Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means when you get divorced, both you and your spouse can expect to walk away with a fairly equal share of your marital assets. This includes any shared debt. Now, if the debt clearly belongs to one of you, the court may assign that debt to the party deemed responsible for it. Joint accounts, however, are fair game and can go to either spouse.
How to deal with the debt
The best way to deal with the debt is to try to eliminate it before filing for divorce. Obviously, that is not always a possibility. For those who cannot pay off their debts, after dividing get debt it is wise to transfer debt to personal accounts and close shared accounts. That way, neither you nor your ex can continue to rack up even more debt in the other person’s name.
If you have questions or concerns about this topic, that is okay. It is normal to want to figure all this out before diving into the divorce process. If you have questions or concerns about how debt will affect your divorce settlement and post-divorce finances, legal counsel can review the details of your situation and provide guidance on the matter.
At the end of the day, divorce is not easy to get through. When debts are an issue, it can make it even harder. It is possible, though, to figure out a way to either tackle the debt or divide it fairly so that one party is not left holding the full burden.