We all know that, during the divorce process, marital assets and property
end up on the chopping block. However, just as spouses must split the
fruits of their marriage, they must also divide any debts they incurred.
If the thought of having your debts divided in court makes you anxious,
there are other options. For example, if your debts are not too substantial,
you and your spouse can try to pay them off before embarking on the divorce
process. If not, the court will address this matter for you.
Dividing Marital Debts
New York is an equitable distribution state, which means that all marital
property and debt must be distributed based on what is fair. In this context,
fair does not necessarily mean equal. When dividing marital debt, the
court will consider the amount of debt involved, how it was accumulated,
and which party benefited most from it. The court will also factor in
the amount of assets each spouse keeps and their ability to pay.
Oftentimes, spouses are concerned about having to pay off debts their spouse
irresponsibly racked up in secret. In such cases, it is highly unlikely
that a judge would assign any of this debt to you. In fact, it might even
be considered a wasteful dissipation of marital assets and, to make up
for the loss, you might receive a larger share of the pie when it comes
to property and asset division.
Student Loan Debts
In New York, student loans are generally considered marital property, especially
if a portion of the funds is used to pay household expenses or living
costs. Moreover, since an advanced degree ultimately benefits both spouses
and contributes to the earning capacity of the spouse who pursued it,
it is also factored into a judge’s decision regarding alimony.
In some cases, spouses continue to jointly retain property, such as a home,
to avoid incurring more debt or refinancing a mortgage. Make sure you
and your spouse fully comprehend the tax implications of this decision
and how you plan on distributing the assets if you ever choose to sell
the property. You do not want to find yourself in a tricky predicament
in the aftermath of your divorce.
Reach Out to an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today!
If you are getting a
divorce, you are likely already aware of the numerous complexities involved in
this process, especially when it comes to asset and debt division. At
The Law Firm of Wayne F. Crowe, Jr., P.C., our divorce team has the experience
and knowledge necessary to help you navigate every step while protecting
your interests. Our attorney is committed to providing personalized solutions
to help you achieve your goals, so you can move forward into the next
chapter of your life. You should not have to go through this emotionally
draining process on your own.
Reach out to our law office today at (914) 752-5333 to set up a free initial case
evaluation with our family law attorney to discuss the details of your case.