Dividing debt after a divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2017 | Firm News, Florida Family Law |

Finances can be one of the biggest contributors to marital strife. Yet it is important that couples in Hernando County understand that their divorces do not signal the end of having to deal with the financial decisions they may have made during their marriages. Many may view divorce as a way to separate themselves from any debts they or their spouses have incurred. In reality, however, the standard has been set that if divorcing couples should share their marital assets equally, so too should they share their debts. 

Indeed, Section 61.075(1) of the Florida Code of Civil Practice and Procedure states that family court officials go into divorce proceedings assuming that the distribution of marital assets and liabilities to be equal. That is not to say, however, that marital factors will not also be considered when determining who gets what. These include: 

  • How long a marriage lasted
  • The role of each spouse in contributing to the household income (as well as the care of the home)
  • The current economic circumstances of each spouse 
  • To what extent each spouse sacrificed to contribute to the career success of the other

On top of these factors, the court also considers each spouse’s role in contributing to incurring household liabilities. It will also take into account whether one spouse has intentionally depleted the marital assets in any way since the filing of his or her divorce petition. 

The law goes on to say that any debt incurred by one spouse through forgery or without the authorization of the other does not qualify as marital property (and thus is not subject to equitable division). This may happen more than people realize, with Business Insider reporting study data that shows that 29 percent of spouses admit to withholding financial information from their partners.