During a divorce proceeding, one of the most stressful issues can be the division of the assets, especially if there significant assets and possibly debts involved. As most know, obtaining a divorce can be a costly event. The last thing a party wants to do is take on additional debt, especially that which was caused by a soon-to-be ex.
What is Marital Debt?
Marital debt is debt that you or your spouse acquired together or separately during the time of the marriage. For instance, the home and car you purchased cn represent marital debt. Even if you open a credit card in your name and your spouse is not on the account, it is still considered marital debt if it was created during the time of the marriage. In this same manner, if you are not the party who pened the credit card and piled up thousands of dollars in debt, it will still be considered your marital debt that the courts will divide.
What are Secured Debts?
Secured debts are those in which some asset is given up by the borrower as collateral with a promise to repay the debt, such as as mortgage or auto loan. Whereas unsecured debt requires no security for the loan, like a credit card. Georgia courts may treat secured debt different from unsecured debt. For instance, if one spouse is awarded the marital home, a judge most likely will not order the other spouse to contribute to those continuing mortgage payments.
What is Fair and Equitable?
Georgia is an equitable distribution state. This may mean that assets and debts are divided equally, but not always. Courts are not required to divide marital property or debts in an equal monetary amount. The law allows the judge the discretion to distribute property and debts between the parties in a manner that seems just and fair. For instance, if a party can show that the other spouse alone incurred the debt without benefitting the marital property, it can be argued for the party who incurred such debt to be solely responsible for its repayment. Here, the party would argue that it is not fair or equitable to split the debt evenly between the spouses. On the other hand, if one spouse earns twice as much as the other, a judge may assign that spouse more debt because that party is more able to pay it. Therefore, the monetary distribution may result in a division that is 60/40 or even 70/30 between the parties, and the judge will look to a variety of factors when making this determination.
If you or someone you know are contemplating a divorce, please contact the experienced attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum. Our dedicated team can help explain to you the laws surrounding division of the assets and how they pertain to your unique case. We will make sure that you not only have a complete understanding of the process but that your rights are properly represented.