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What if I Cannot Afford to Pay Half of The Marital Debt After the Divorce?

division of debt in divorce

In every divorce, there is a complex framework of legal issues that must be addressed. One of the most common of these issues that divorce attorneys in Orlando, FL deal with is the division of assets and debts that accumulated during the divorce.

In most cases, any asset or debt that accumulates during the marriage will be considered to be a marital asset or liability that is subject to equitable distribution. This means that if a home was purchased at any time between the date of marriage and the date of filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage then that home will be considered

The exact same rule applies to any debt that the parties add during the marriage. Student loans, credit card debt, IRS debt, medical, and other types of debt will all be shared by the parties when a divorce is filed.

In cases where there is one spouse who is the “breadwinner” and the other spouse is the “homemaker”, it is not uncommon for the lesser earning spouse not to have the financial ability to pay half of the debt that had added up during the marriage.

Luckily for these people, there are certain factors that the Courts may consider if your divorce lawyer has properly requested unequal distribution of the marital debt.

The specific factors that the Courts may use to assess and divide debt are as follows:

  1. The contribution of a spouse to the marriage.
  2. The contribution of a spouse to the care and education of the child.
  3. The contribution of spouse for services as homemaker.
  4. The economic circumstances of the parties.
  5. The duration of the marriage.
  6. The interruption of the personal career and/or educational opportunities of a spouse.
  7. The contribution of a spouse to the personal career and/or educational opportunity of the other spouse.
  8. The desirability of retaining certain assets intact and free from any claim or interference by the other spouse.
  9. The contribution of spouse regarding the acquisition, enhancement and production of income, or the improvement of marital assets and/or nonmarital assets of the parties.
  10. The contribution of the other spouse regarding the incurring of liabilities.
  11. The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion or destruction of marital assets by the other spouse after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition.

These points of consideration permit the lawyers and divorce Court judges to stick a person with more or less of the marital debt to you that to the other spouse based upon each person’s financial situation and based on their conduct as it relates to the debt over the two year period preceding the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage.

It will be very important for you to make sure that your Orlando divorce lawyer has a solid understanding of how to properly plea for the proper relief in the petition of divorce, or, the counterclaim for divorce as it related to unequal division of assets. Your lawyer will also need to understand what types of evidence to gather during the case to present in Court should the case not settle at mediation and need to go to a contested trial.


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