How Is Debt Divided In A Florida Divorce?
If you are considering a divorce, you may be focused on how assets, such as your home, car, and valuables, will be divided. But have you considered how your debt will be? When you are married, you share debt with your spouse. This is generally true even if they took out loans and borrowed funds that you were not aware of. All debts acquired during the divorce are treated as marital property, just as all assets acquired during the marriage are. This means that they will be subject to equitable distribution during a divorce. In order to make sure that you do not end up bearing the load of more debt than you are obligated to, it’s important to enlist the help of an experienced Tampa, Florida divorce attorney.
Dividing Debt in a Divorce
In America, the average amount of debt that most couples carry is $145,000. That’s a lot of debt to divide in a divorce. These debts often include a mortgage, car loans, student loans, and credit debt. Florida uses the equitable distribution model for dividing debt and other assets in a divorce. This involves having a judge weigh a number of factors in order to determine how splitting the debt would be the most fair. In some cases, the judge will consider the assets and income of both spouses in order to determine what split would be necessary for both of them to maintain the standard of living to which they have become accustomed during the marriage. Debt will first be classified into one of three categories. Pre-marital debt is debt that was independently assumed by either spouse before marriage. This may include student debt if they took out the loans prior to marriage. Pre-marital debt is generally treated as the separate property of the spouse who assumed it. Debt assumed during the marriage in the names of both spouses will be treated as marital property. Non-marital debt is debt assumed during the marriage by one spouse, and it may or may not be treated as shared debt depending on the circumstances.
Exceptions to the Equitable Distribution of Debt in a Divorce
There are some exceptions that allow one spouse not to have to assume debt taken on by the other spouse, even if it was assumed during their marriage. For instance, if it can be shown that one spouse took out a loan for their own singular benefit and without the knowledge of their spouse, this debt will likely be treated as their sole responsibility and will not be subject to equitable distribution. However, it can be difficult to prove that the other spouse did not benefit from the debt at all. If another spouse assumed credit card debt in order to buy gifts and vacations for a paramour that their spouse was not aware of, this debt would be treated as their separate property and their spouse would not be responsible for paying any portion of it.
Contact Bubley & Bubley, P.A. to Schedule a Consultation
If you are going through a divorce, it’s important to make sure that you have a dedicated legal advocate on your side to ensure that your assets and debts are divided equitably. Contact the experienced Tampa divorce lawyers at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. today to schedule a consultation.