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How do spouses split up debt in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2021 | divorce

Many divorcing Florida couples concern themselves with how they will split their tangible assets such as the family home or cars when they divorce. Few spouses, however, immediately realize that they must also divide their marital debts.

Absent any prenuptial agreement, Florida’s equitable distribution doctrine applies when dividing both marital assets and liabilities in a divorce.

What debts need to be addressed during a divorce?

Mortgage debt is often a big issue for couples. Some couples may decide to sell their home and cash out any equity they may have. Others may decide that one spouse should buy out the other’s share of the family home. That can prove difficult, however, if either spouse is in a financial crunch.

Credit card debt can be complicated to divide. Each spouse may end up with whatever debt is in their name, but the debt on any jointly held cards may be harder to split. You may end up dividing the debt equally if you’re both roughly equally responsible for the charges. 

What happens with any auto debt you may have is mainly contingent upon whose name is on the loan documents. One of you may be able to refinance the vehicle into just one of your names. Your obligation to cover your spouse’s medical debt depends based on whether you two were living together or legally separated when they incurred it. 

Understanding how to handle debt in your divorce

The lack of financial certainty that comes with restarting your life on your own after a divorce can be scary. Understanding how to protect yourself from a pile of debt after your divorce is over is only part of the struggle. Working with an experienced attorney can help you better understand your options.