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Division of Debt

Divison of debt often plays a critical role in the end of a marriage. One spouse may have piled up thousands of dollars in credit card debt that the other was unaware of. One spouse may have a debt that they believe should be the others to pay and so on.

The truth of the matter is that most marriages will have incurred some sort of debt. For some couples, the division of debt is just as important as the division of assets. If parties can not come to an agreement on who needs to pay the debt, the court will make this decision for you.

Florida Divorce Debt Lawyer

If you or your spouse has substantial debt, it is important you speak with the experienced lawyers of Quality Family Law as soon as possible. We have an office located in West Palm Beach, for your convenience.

Our lawyers have been representing families in West Palm Beach, North Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Jupiter, Wellington, Delray Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Springs, and Boynton Beach, Florida for many years.

Call Quality Family Law at (561) 557-8686 today for an initial consultation.

Information Center

The Division of Credit Card Debt in Divorce

Any debt occurred in a marriage between two parties should be treated the same as assets when it comes to their division. The debt should be divided fairly between the spouses, while taking into account a variety of factors, such as:

  • how the debt was incurred;  
  • whether the debt is for credit cards, mortgages, personal loans;
  • whether one party more responsible than the other and willing to pay their share of the debt?

It is common that former couples shared bank accounts while married. In this case,  both parties would be required to pay the remaining credit card debt.

In the case there is a mortgage debt, the person whose name is on the mortgage note will be most likely to have to pay the debt. In most cases, the names of both spouses are on the mortgage.

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Marital Debt vs. Non-marital Debt

In Florida, marital debt and non-marital debt are two different things.

Marital Debt is defined as debt that was incurred by either party during the marriage, no matter who made the purchase.  Depending on the circumstances for each situation, they can be assigned to either party for payment upon divorce.

Marital debts generally include:

  • credit card debt
  • car loans
  • mortgages
  • various other types of loans
  • home equity lines of credit
  • business debt

Non-marital Debt is defined as debt that was acquired by a spouse before the marriage that still exists at the time of the divorce. In this case, the spouse who owed the debt will be responsible for paying this debt. Non-marital debt also includes debt that the spouses have defined in a valid written agreement as non-marital debt.

For example, Spouse A went to college and acquired student loans before the marriage, but they are not done paying this debt, they will be required to pay these.

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What is Separate Property in Florida?

Before dividing property, a couple must determine whether either spouse owns any property separately. Separate, or “non-marital,” property is not subject to division in a divorce. The property is considered to be separate if one spouse owned it before marriage or acquired it during the marriage as a gift.

Separate property includes:

  • assets and debts a couple defined as separate property in a valid written agreement (ex. premarital agreement);
  • income from separate property(ex. spouse owns their own business);
  • items exchanged for or purchased with separate property.

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Additional Resources

State of Florida: Visit the website of the State of Florida to see the Florida Divorce Guide that provides resources for families dealing with divorce.

Section 61.052: View the Florida Senate’s website to see section 61.052 of the Florida statute that discusses the dissolution of marriage.

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Find an Attorney for Fair Debt Division in Florida

In order to be certain that your marital debts are divided fairly, you should speak with the experienced lawyers of Quality Family Law. The division of debt may change your career plans, living arrangements, and retirement dreams so it is important you protect yourself from an unfair divide.

The lawyers of Quality Family Law will be able to interpret financial records and appraise the marital estate to get you a favorable debt division agreement. Don’t wait! Call us at (561) 557-8686 today for a confidential consultation.

This page was last updated March 8, 2017

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