What is Marital Debt?

Divorce is a terrible experience for many reasons, and for many people, dividing marital debt will be one of the biggest challenges. Divorce is already a complicated and emotionally taxing process when you’re trying to leave the marriage with everything you want. Trying to leave without taking on debt you didn’t acquire can be even more complicated.

The way debt is divided may be similar to how property is, but debt plays a more significant role in how difficult it will be to live life as it was before the marriage. In this article, we will explain what marital debt is, how it is split, and how our experienced divorce attorneys can help guide you through this process.

What is Marital Debt?

Marital debt refers to any debts incurred during the marriage by either spouse. This can include:

  • Credit card debt
  • Mortgages
  • Car loans
  • Payday loans
  • Other financial commitments

In Florida, marital debt is considered joint or shared between both spouses. This is true regardless of whose name is on the account or who accumulated the debt. The only time a spouse is taking on debt that isn’t marital is if it was agreed to be personal debt in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

What Debts Cannot Be Marital Debt?

Not all debts incurred during the marriage are considered marital debts. Any debts that were acquired before the marriage, such as student loans or credit card debt, are considered separate and will not be divided during a divorce.

Additionally, any debts acquired after the separation date may also be considered separate. This means that once you and your spouse are separated but still completing the divorce process, any debts you take on aren’t marital debt.

How is Marital Debt Split in Florida?

In Florida, marital debt is divided through a process called equitable distribution, similar to how marital assets are divided. This means that the court will divide the debt in a just and fair manner, taking into consideration various factors, such as each spouse’s financial contributions to the marriage and their ability to pay. 

It is important to note that equitable distribution does not necessarily mean an equal split. They don’t expect a stay-at-home spouse to take on and pay off as much debt as a working spouse.

What Factors are Considered in Equitable Distribution?

As mentioned, the court will consider various factors when dividing marital debt. These may include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s financial resources and earning potential
  • Contributions made by each spouse during the marriage, such as homemaking and child-rearing
  • Any non-financial contributions, such as support during one spouse’s education or career advancement
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • Any intentional dissipation of marital assets by either spouse

Can We Divide Marital Debt on Our Own?

Some couples may be able to agree on how to divide their marital debt without involving the court. However, it is always recommended to seek legal counsel from an experienced divorce attorney to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. You still need to complete a legal document and file it with the court to get it approved.

How Can the Marital Debt Attorneys at C. Alvarez Law Help?

Navigating the division of marital debt during a divorce can be overwhelming and confusing, especially when emotions are running high. Our knowledgeable and experienced divorce attorneys can provide you with compassionate guidance and support throughout the divorce process, including marital debt. We will make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities regarding marital debt, negotiate with your spouse’s attorney, and ensure a fair division of debt.

If you are facing a divorce and have concerns about how marital debt will be divided, do not hesitate to contact us today.


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C. Alvarez Law

C. Alvarez Law is a Central Florida-based law firm that helps families find resolutions to their most complex family law issues. We are dedicated to providing the support and advice you need for a positive outcome and a better life. Before you can move on with your life, you need closure. Our firm is diverse, energetic, and passionate about delivering this for the clients who have placed their trust in us. Let’s work together today to find a better tomorrow.

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