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Dividing Debts in Divorce

Miami Attorneys Experienced in the Equitable Distribution Process

Considering that financial disagreements are one of the leading causes of divorce, it should come as no surprise that many couples continue to argue during a divorce about which spouse will be responsible for the various debts incurred during the marriage. Since a divorce settlement or decree can set the tone for a divorcing person’s financial future, it is important for each spouse to be represented by a Miami divorce lawyer during the marital dissolution process. Florida Bar Board Certified marital and family law specialist Sandy T. Fox has been representing people dividing debts in divorce for over a decade, and he fights hard for justice on behalf of each and every client.

In order to obtain a divorce in the state of Florida, it is not necessary to prove fault; all that is required is a finding that the marriage is irretrievably broken. However, this does not mean that the court will not take into consideration the parties’ respective actions, attitudes, and habits during the marriage in deciding some of the issues that may arise during dissolution of marriage proceedings. In dividing assets and debts, the divorce court will need to determine an equitable distribution between the parties. Florida is not a community property state, so “equitable” does not necessarily mean 50-50. Since each case is unique and must be approached on its own merits, representation by a quality attorney is crucial.

Factors Considered in Dividing Debts in Divorce

Just as there are many different kinds of marital assets that must be divided (homes and other real estate, cars and boats, retirement accounts, household furnishings, cash, and more), there can be varying types of debt that must be taken into consideration during a divorce as well. For some couples, the identification of marital debts may be fairly straightforward. For example, there may be a mortgage and two car payments, each of which includes both parties’ signatures and each of which was incurred after the marriage began. For other couples, however, dividing debts in divorce can be a much more complicated endeavor. Consumer debt can include not only mortgages and car loans but also credit cards, medical bills, student loans, outstanding utility bills, payday loans, and so on. Some couples may also have financial liabilities stemming from a family business. The situation can be especially complicated in a high net worth divorce.

The first inquiry in determining which spouse will be required to pay a particular debt is whether the debt is a marital or nonmarital debt. Generally, debts that are acquired while a couple is married are “marital debts,” but there can be exceptions to this rule. Likewise, debts that may initially appear to be “nonmarital” can sometimes be classified as “marital” under the circumstances of a certain case. In deciding what is an equitable distribution of marital debts, the court usually begins with the premise that each party should pay one-half. However, the court will also take other factors into consideration (the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, and the parties’ respective economic circumstances, among others), which can result in a less “equal” allocation of debt.

Speak to a Divorce Lawyer in Miami About Your Financial Situation

If you are facing a divorce, you need to understand your legal rights. What happens during the marital dissolution process can affect you, your children, and your financial well-being for many years to come. At the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., we help people in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties pursue a fair outcome for each of the issues that can arise during divorce proceedings, including not only the division of debts but also the division of marital property, custody and visitation arrangements, and spousal and child support. Call us at 800.596.0579 or contact us online to schedule an appointment to discuss your case. Our attorneys represent people in Miami, Aventura, Hollywood, and the surrounding cities.