Deciding to end your marriage does not always means that you can entirely sever all ties with your former spouse. For example, if you and your former spouse had a child together, you will likely still need to interact with one another for the well-being of the child. Another element that can connect two former spouses is debt. To avoid undesirable situations involving debt, it is helpful to learn a few of the important details about how debt can affect a divorce.
What Type of Debt is Considered Marital?
The manner in which debt is handled during a divorce is influenced by whether that debt is marital or separate in nature. Many assets obtained in the course of a marriage end up as marital property. Property that a person acquires before marriage, however, is classified as separate property. During divorce, all marital property is divided through equitable distribution which means that a court divides property in a manner that it decides is fair. As a result, a person can end up responsible for debt following divorce if that debt ends up classified as marital property. Debt that is incurred during marriage is marital despite whether one or both spouses was responsible for repayment. It is not always possible, however, to divide credit card debt between former spouses, which in some cases might mean that a spouse’s debt is not subject to equitable distribution.
How are Marital Liabilities Distributed?
In the state of Georgia, judges do not follow established guidelines when it comes to dividing debt during a divorce. Instead, judges in these cases evaluate a number of different factors to determine what type of division would be equitable. Some of the factors that judges consider include the following:
- Each spouse’s existing liabilities
- Each spouse’s assets, income, and overall ability to repay the debt
- The manner in which each spouse contributed to the debt
Typical Debt Resolution Programs
Courts typically resolve debt between couples in one of several ways, which include the following:
- Both spouses continue to paying the debt
- The debt is assigned to one person
- The debt is immediately paid off
In some situations, a spouse might still be liable for a debt even if a former spouse agrees to take the amount over. As a result, it is a wise idea to discuss matters with your attorney to make sure that you do not become liable for the debt. Most often, a person ends up required to pay for a spouse’s former debt when the former spouse declares bankruptcy.
Speak with an Experienced Family Law Attorney
To reduce the chances of debt complications during a divorce, consider working with an attorney to navigate this process. An experienced family law attorney can also help you explore debt repayment options. Contact Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C. to schedule a free initial consultation.