When your spouse approached you and said that they’d like to get a divorce, you were shocked. Your shock worsened when you realized how much debt they’d run up while you were married. You don’t want to be saddled with the debt, because you didn’t spend the money. In a lot of cases, that money wasn’t spent on anything that would benefit you, either.
Florida is an equitable distribution state, which is a good thing for you. Being in an equitable distribution state, you have the ability to argue against taking on certain debts. For example, if your spouse took out debts on credit cards in their own name or bought items that only benefited them, you could provide supporting evidence for that.
The courts do consider various factors when deciding how debts should be split
The court may consider a number of factors such as:
- The economic circumstances of each person
- The intentional depletion of marital assets leading up to the divorce petition
- The contribution to the marriage by each spouse
- The duration of the marriage
- The interruption of any educational or personal career options
Looking at factors such as these, a judge can begin to get a better picture of the marriage and determine how money was likely to be spent and how assets and debts should be divided.
What should you do if you want to avoid taking your debt concerns to a judge?
It is true that a judge may make different decisions regarding marital debts than you’d like. That’s why a good choice is to sit down with your spouse and talk through the debts that have accrued and about how they’d like to divide them. If you talk it out, you may find that you can agree to splitting the assets in a way that you feel is fair based on your circumstances.
Another option is to go through mediation to discuss the debts and to come to a reasonable agreement outside court. Not everyone can use mediation, but if you are reasonable and willing to work together, it could be the right choice for you.
Getting stuck with your spouse’s debts after divorce could have a negative impact on your life and your financial situation. Take your time when negotiating and working out a plan to separate your assets and debts, so that you are comfortable with the agreement you come up with.