How will the court divide debts in our divorce?
A prevalent factor in the minds of those going through a divorce is the ability to maintain financial stability going into their new single life. Transitioning from a two-income household down to one, losing certain assets and gaining sole responsibly over certain debts can be a daunting endeavor. Your Orlando Divorce Attorney will be able to discuss the options available to you and further explain the process the court takes when dividing up marital assets and liabilities, allowing you to formulate a plan for your financial future.
Marital assets are commonly fought over and discussed between separating couples; however, many couples forget the equal value and importance of marital debts. The division of marital assets and liabilities operate under the same umbrella of equitable distribution. In short, this means the court will attempt to divide all assets and liabilities in a fair and equitable manner taking into account a myriad of factors. The factors considered by the court when determining the division of a marital debt include:
“(a) The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as homemaker.
(b) The economic circumstances of the parties.
(c) The duration of the marriage.
(d) Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party.
(e) The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse.
(g) The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of, or the incurring of liabilities to, both the marital assets and the nonmarital assets of the parties.
(i) The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition.
(j) Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.”
Ultimately, the court is given broad discretion to determine what is equitable and fair to the parties and must take into account many aspects. For instance, if your spouse is awarded a larger amount of debt, they may also be awarded a larger amount of the assets to counter act this debt. Further, if you are the higher earning spouse, you may be burdened with more debt due to your financial ability to sustain the payments on the debt. Each factor has different weight in every unique case. Therefore, having a knowledgeable Orlando Divorce Attorney on your side will allow you to protect your rights and argue for an equitable distribution of marital debts.
Of course, after an award of a marital liability to your spouse, do not assume you are legally removed from the debt. If you or your spouse incurred a debt during the time of your marriage you are legally responsible for this debt if your spouse fails to make a payment. It is important to take the proactive steps to remove your name from these documents to protect your credit and financial security. In cases where you are unable to remove your name, such as home mortgages, it is important to negotiate a refinancing plan with your spouse prior to conclusion of your case. In many instances, the requirement to remove a name from a debt or refinancing a loan can be implemented into your divorce agreement protecting you in the future. Discuss these alternatives with your Orlando Divorce Attorney to see what options are available to you.
Distribution of assets and liabilities can be a grueling and difficult process. Ensure you are protected and this division is done in a fair and equitable manner with the help of a knowledgeable Orlando Divorce Attorney.
Speaking to an attorney at our Orlando office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 407-512-0887 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.