While dividing up what you own during a divorce can be cumbersome, so can dividing up what you owe. Your new, separate lives mean all debt obligations must be assigned. Learn what happens to your existing debt when you divorce in Florida.
According to Florida law, both property and debt are divided according to “equitable distribution”. In contrast to states with community property rules requiring exactly equal division, “equitable” means fair division as determined by the court.
Dealing with Debt During Divorce
Separate or Non-Marital Property
Debts associated with separate or non-marital property are not subject to division in a divorce. If property was owned before the marriage or acquired during the marriage as a gift (not from the other spouse), it is considered separate and will not be divided.
All assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage are considered marital property. (Note: It doesn’t matter if the debt is titled jointly or in only one spouse’s name.)
This marital debt can include, but is not limited to:
- Credit card debt
- Vehicle loans
- Joint business debt
The Division of Debts
Some couples are able to amicably work through the assignment of debt themselves or with the help of a mediator. If, however, this is not possible, the decision can be left to the court. Florida courts generally divide the value of all marital debt equally. That said, the responsibility for actual payment is assigned to one spouse or the other.
If dividing the debt equally seems unfair under all of the circumstances, a court may elect to divide it unequally. (An example of this is if one spouse amassed a great sum of credit card debt by spending recklessly. He/she may be assigned a greater portion of that debt.)
After your marital debts have been assigned, it does not necessarily release you from perceived liability. Creditors may still come after you if your spouse does not meet his/her share of the marital debt obligations. In these situations, it is extremely important to enlist the services of an experienced lawyer early to help rectify the problem.
Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Charles Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss division of property in your divorce, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. online or call 561-478-0312.