What Happens to Debt in a Divorce?
Divorce will always change every aspect of your life. In our combined family law experience of over 35 years, we have learned that one of the chief disruptions will be an individual’s property rights and ability to retain control over assets or liabilities. Massachusetts is an equitable property state, meaning that both you and your ex-spouse have an equal chance to receive marital property after a divorce. However, the split may not be 50/50.
While you have probably considered the division of shared property, it may not have occurred to you that shared debts must also be split. Although the goal of a court is to set both parties on equal financial footing for the future, it may be difficult to understand how this debt may change your situation. If you are concerned about how this may affect the financial future of your family, calling our exceptional family law team to develop creative solutions can help.
Types of Debt Commonly Accrued During Divorce
The types of debt that married couples typically accumulate includes medical bills, credit card debt, personal loans, student loans, mortgages, and car payments. Even if it appears that only your spouse is responsible for the debt—such as if they are the only authorized user of a credit card—the Massachusetts family courts generally consider both parties to be involved for these liabilities, unless they were individually accrued before the marriage.
How a Court May Handle the Allocation of Debt
As a general rule, Massachusetts law presumes that all property a couple accumulates during a marriage is equally owned. In these cases, the court will still consider a variety of factors when making this decision. These elements include the length of your marriage, you and your spouse’s conduct during the marriage, the ability of each of you to earn income following the divorce, and the amount of alimony that may be ordered.
Understanding how much debt you may be saddled with after a divorce can be difficult, but with our compassionate legal team out your side, you can be in a better position to move on with your life after the process is over.
Fight for a Fair Future When Debts Are Divided in Divorce
Because all marital debt is usually considered to be equal between you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, there is a good chance that you will be allocated some of this debt by a judge. This debt can include joint credit cards, an underwater mortgage, car payments, or medical bills.
However, our attorneys can work outside of the box to help you minimize the debt you may walk away with and help you prepare for success in the future. Contact us at our Westborough office to let us start helping you today.