Division of Debts During Divorce
During a divorce in Florida, certain assets are subject to division by the courts. The same is true for the division of debts and that can include everything from credit cards to your mortgage. However, there are debts that are not subject to division and they are classified as premarital and non-marital. Premarital debts include debts that a spouse incurred before the marriage. Non-marital debts include debts acquired during the marriage that are only listed in one name and have not been used to contribute to the marriage or marital assets. It is not always easy to determine exactly what category your debt will fall into under Florida law, but consulting with a divorce attorney when considering the end of your marriage can save you from mistakes and additional last minute costly debt accumulation and responsibility. The skilled attorneys for men of In Law We Trust, P.A. will work with you to clear up any misconceptions about debt responsibilities and counsel you on how to best protect your interests.
Premarital debts are debts that a spouse incurred before the marriage, including debts on credit cards in one spouse’s name. If the other spouse never used the cards, a Florida court considers the debt to be the responsibility of the spouse in whose name the card was issued. If there is still debt on those cards, that spouse is responsible and must continue to pay for those balances after the divorce. Student loans are another example of premarital debt, unless the student debt was incurred during the marriage. Then things get a little more complicated when considering who is responsible.
Florida recognizes some debts as non-marital and as outside of the court’s power to divide. Debts and credit cards that are listed in only one spouse’s name, not paid with marital funds, and were used as separate property may be considered non-marital even if those debts were acquired during the marriage. In general, if it can be shown that none of the debt has contributed to the marriage, the courts could consider that as a spouse’s separate debt or non-marital debt. Credit cards used exclusively for business expenses, may also be considered non-marital debt.
In most cases, credit cards opened in both spouses’ names are considered marital debt and divisible in a divorce, unless it can be proved that only one of the spouses used the card and none of the debt was used for items for the family. Even if a credit card is not in both names, the debts on the card will likely be considered marital debt if both spouses have charged on it during the marriage.
Other types of debt which cannot be attributed to the direct benefit for either you or your spouse will be more challenging to divide and may be allocated based on the spouse with the greatest ability to pay. If you have a mortgage, that too, becomes a more complicated issue. The court may order the mortgage debt to be divided, or if you or your wife decides to stay in the home, the mortgage may be restructured to designate the sole owner and sole borrower.
It is important to know that even if the terms of a divorce decree or marital settlement state that your spouse is responsible, you do remain liable for any debts in your name. Creditors can still go after you for payment if your spouse defaults on the debt.
Seek the Representation of In Law We Trust, P.A. to Assist with Your Debt Division
When splitting up debt, the Florida divorce courts will also consider the length of the marriage, the health, ages, income and earning potential of each spouse, and each of your monetary and non-monetary contributions to the marriage. As you can see, the division of debt is complex. The attorneys at In Law We Trust, P.A. who represent men in divorce and family law matters, understand the unique nature of our client’s marital situations and debt. As your attorneys, you can be assured that we will help you obtain results that are in your best interest so that you can get on solid footing and move on with your life as soon as possible.
Call The Family Law Experts Men Trust (813) 415-3510
In Law We Trust, P.A. is a premier firm of divorce lawyers representing men in family law proceedings. We are uniquely positioned to assist our clients with the challenges men face in Florida’s court system. Call us today and get the proper representation men need and deserve.