How Are Debts Split in a Divorce?


When you get a divorce in the state of New York, all of your assets, including your debts, will be divided equitably. In other words, everything you owned with your spouse is subject to division, including credit card balances, mortgages, auto loans, and other types of debt. Even though the court will attempt to make the division as fair as possible, that doesn’t necessarily mean all debts will be split 50/50. According to equitable distribution laws, the marital assets will be divided fairly, not equally.

If you are concerned about how your debts will be distributed in your divorce, find out how New York courts handle asset and debt division.

Common Types of Marital Debt

Most people have accrued some sort of debt, whether they’ve taken out a loan for a new vehicle or a mortgage on their house. The amount of debt couples have accumulated during their marriage depends entirely on their own circumstances, as these debts can vary greatly in a case-by-case basis. When it comes time to divide debts in a divorce, it is important to evaluate the debt as you would any other asset. In New York, all marital property is subject to division, whereas separate assets remain under the ownership of the individual. The same rules apply to debts.

A mortgage acquired during the marriage, for example, will be considered marital property, whereas student loan debt acquired before the marriage took place is considered a separate asset. As a rule, most debts acquired before the marriage will be considered separate debts and will not be subject to division. However, there are always exceptions in cases where couples acquired debts together before their marriage, or when the debt benefited both spouses.

On the other hand, some debts acquired during the marriage might sometimes be considered separate property if the debt was used to benefit only one spouse. For example, if one spouse had a credit card used only for their own purposes, the resulting credit card debt might remain their responsibility after the divorce.

Some of the most common types of marital debt include:

  • Mortgages
  • Auto loans
  • Credit card debt
  • Personal loans

Understanding the Division of Equitable Property

In New York, all marital assets will be divided as fairly as possible, but that does not necessarily mean everything will be split down the middle. The way in which debts are divided will depend largely on how the other assets are distributed. For example, if one spouse received more assets, he or she will likely receive more of the marital debt as well. The court will also consider the financial situation of each spouse to determine how much each spouse can afford to pay towards the shared debts.

Do you need help with property division? Contact The Franklin Law Firm today to discuss your family law case with our Bronx divorce attorneys.

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