During a divorce, equitable distribution occurs with more than property and assets. One of the most complicated and frustrating issues involves the division of debt.
While the Florida statutes subject all marital liabilities and assets to a division between spouses, the court determines how to divide debt fairly and equitably. This might not mean equally.
Types of debt
While there are many ways a couple could accumulate debt during a marriage, the court looks at three specific types of debt. These categories are premarital, non-marital and marital debt. Premarital is debt one spouse brings into the marriage, with only their name on the debt (such as a credit card). Non-marital debt is debt in one spouse’s name only and not paid using marital funds. Marital debt are accounts in both spouses’ names such as mortgages, car loans or credit cards.
The court often divides straight marital debt equally between spouses. The individual responsible for premarital debt usually assumes that liability and the same occurs with non-marital debt.
Complicated ownership of debt
In some cases, both spouses maintain responsibility for these debts on account of the funds used to pay the bill. In some cases, credit cards in both names but only used by one spouse are the sole responsibility of the individual who used the card. Litigation usually solves these concerns, if the spouse can support either the lack of use or funds used for the debt. Student debt is another complicating factor, as the court looks at the timeline of loan issuance as well as the benefit of the education to either spouse.
Division of assets under Florida law could complicate your divorce proceedings. The divisions of debts add another challenge to work through.