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Dos and Don’ts for Handling Debt in a Divorce


When it comes to divorce, splitting assets is often a point of contention. However, many couples forget one important: who gets the debts? While a couple may fight over who gets the home, car, cash, collectibles and heirlooms, nobody wants to be stuck with debt in a divorce. Unfortunately, your debts do not simply go away when you and your spouse end the marriage, so your credit card debt, mortgage, car loans and personal loans need to be split up somehow.

Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that debts in a divorce are split fairly. This means that they could be split 60/40, 70/30, or even equally, at 50/50.  This primarily depends on whether or not the debts are jointly shared or are separate.

Credit card debt is often difficult to split in a divorce, since many couples have joint accounts. If this is the case for you, who is responsible? Ideally, you should enter a divorce with no joint debt, but that is not always realistic. If you are considering divorce, here are some tips to keep in mind as you navigate the division of debt.

What to Do About Debt

If you do have joint debt in your divorce, there are some things you can do to make the process of splitting the debt less painful. The first thing you should do is cancel the credit cards so your spouse cannot make any more purchases and rack up the debt even higher. If your spouse does happen to incur more debt, keep accurate records so you can prove that you were not the one who made the purchases. Your spouse should be held responsible for his or her purchases.

Determine how much debt there is and make a plan to pay it off together. It may be easier to transfer the debt to a credit card that is solely in your name so it can be paid off quicker.  If you have a home equity line or credit or any savings, use that toward your debt to help with the payoff. If you need help, seek assistance from a financial planner or mediator.

If you and your spouse are both drowning in debt and will have trouble paying down the debt, seek credit counseling. A counselor can help you manage your expenses and help you create a budget. If your debt is significant and it will take you many years to pay off, bankruptcy may be a good option. You should file before the divorce so your spouse isn’t stuck with the joint debt.

Seek Legal Help

Splitting assets is never easy in a divorce. The same goes for debt. There are various types of debt that may be involved in a divorce, and deciding who pays for what can be complicated, especially when it comes to joint accounts.

Let Fort Lauderdale property division attorney Edward J. Jennings, P.A. assist you during this stressful time. We can help divide assets and debts fairly. Fill out the online form or call 954-764-4330 to schedule a consultation.




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