The process of dividing debt during divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2020 | Blog, Divorce |

Just as you will need to divide up property when you get a divorce, you might also need to divide debt. Since Florida is an equitable property state, courts typically divide debt according to which spouse created the debt in the first place. Unfortunately, this is not always what happens in practice.

Problems with dividing debt

Your divorce agreement with your spouse may include provisions that require your ex-spouse to pay all or part of a debt that is either jointly held or in your name. The problem with this is that it essentially leaves you reliant on the goodwill of your spouse.

Creditors are not interested in what a divorce decree says and simply want to collect their money from the person whose name is on the debt. If it is a joint debt and one person is not paying it, they will pursue the other person. Further complications can arise if one person declares bankruptcy on joint debts.

Solutions

One solution is to make sure that all debts are in the name of the person who will pay them off. While balance transfers and refinancing are methods to accomplish this, they can also require a lot of cooperation, which can be hard for couples who are getting a divorce. Another solution could be for one person to keep more assets and more debt. This may work better than trying to pursue an ex-spouse for money owed after debts are paid.

While the ideal solution is to pay off debts before finalizing the divorce, this is not always financially feasible. Instead, you should try to work toward a solution that protects you and your financial stability as much as possible. Keep in mind that your attorney can negotiate on your behalf if necessary.