Dividing Debt in a Divorce

Debt is common and most of us owe at least some money. If you are about to file for divorce, however, you may be wondering about the fate of these debts and how they might get divided between you and your spouse. Much like property and assets, your debt will be divided equitably, according to New York state law, unless you stated otherwise in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

What Happens to Debt in a Divorce?

In an equitable distribution state, both spouses are responsible for debts incurred during the marriage. If you or your spouse had debts before tying the knot, however, that would still be considered separate and not up for division.

There are some rare circumstances in which a spouse may not be responsible for certain marital debts. If your spouse wasted marital funds and you can prove it in court, they may become your spouse’s sole responsibility. For example, if your spouse spent a substantial amount of marital assets on an extramarital affair, this would be considered wasteful dissipation and it is unlikely you will be responsible for any portion of those debts. Other examples include excessive gambling and purchasing large quantities of drugs and alcohol.

If you and your spouse have the funds to pay off your debts before filing for divorce, you should both consider this option. Taking care of your debts now will ensure you have fewer headaches later. Keep in mind that if your spouse falls behind on paying off the divided debts, creditors may come after you for payments. You can both avoid that by settling your debts before dissolving the marriage.

Speak to an Experienced Family Law Attorney About Your Divorce Today!

If you are choosing to end your marriage and have a substantial amount of debt, the experienced divorce team at Arnel Law Firm can provide the experienced advice and guidance you need to navigate it. Our team has been helping clients since 1983 and will do what we can to protect your interests during this difficult time.

Reach out to our law firm today at (718) 550-3024 to set up a case review with one of our attorneys to get started and find out more about what we can do for you.