In your Florida divorce, debt will have to be divided too
Most people realize that divorce involves a property division; most couples build up a great deal of property during a marriage. Of course, along with acquiring property, most couples also accumulate debt.
From credit card debts to a home mortgage, different kind of debts will also have to be split up during the divorce process. By knowing more about how debt will be divided in your Florida divorce, you can have a better chance of securing the results you want and getting on with your life as soon as possible.
Ability to pay important, but other factors should be taken into account as well
Generally, disposition of marital property and debt is decided in one of two ways in Florida. In most cases, a divorcing party and his or her divorce attorney are able to come to a negotiated settlement agreement with the other side. If a settlement cannot be reached, debt and property will be divided by the order of a Florida family court. Settlement is more common because litigation can become expensive, and knowing what factors a judge will use to divide property and debt, each side can judge the relative strengths and weaknesses of their case and strike bargains as appropriate.
The threat of judicial intervention underlies all aspects of negation, so even if a party intends to settle, the factors a court will consider if ultimately asked to do so are important. Florida is a so-called “equitable distribution” state, meaning that the court will split up assets and debt in a manner it deems fair. This is not always a 50-50 split, and if the court is presented with compelling arguments, it may deviate significantly from a 50-50 division.
When splitting up debt, the court will consider the same general factors it looks to in dividing assets. Some of the most important include the length of the marriage, each party’s earning potential and income, each party’s health and age, and each party’s contributions the marriage, both monetary and nonmonetary.
Of course, no one knows your own finances like you do, which gives you an opportunity to divide debts in a way that better suits your needs before the matter gets before a judge. In negotiating your settlement agreement, you and your attorney should consider the unique nature of each of your marital debts.
For example, a student debt incurred by one spouse during the marriage obviously has more benefit in the future earning potential of that spouse. For that reason, after the marriage perhaps that spouse should be more willing to shoulder the ongoing obligation. Or, if one spouse is to remain in the marital home after the divorce, it makes sense for that spouse to contribute to the mortgage.
Other types of debt that are not attached to any direct benefit for either spouse can be more challenging to divide. Credit card debt, for instance, is typically unsecured, meaning it is not attached to the benefit of using some asset purchased on credit. This type of debt may be allocated more fairly to the spouse with the greatest ability to pay.
A Florida divorce attorney can help you divide your debts
The financial situation of each party to a divorce is important in splitting up any kind of debt. But, by also considering more nuanced factors like the type of debt and the party who receives the most benefit from it, you can obtain a settlement that is better suited to your individual desires. Talk to a Florida divorce attorney today to learn more about dividing marital debt.