What happens to household debt during a Florida divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Divorce

Financial concerns are often at the forefront of someone’s mind early in their divorce proceedings. People naturally worry about losing valuable property and covering the outstanding financial obligations accrued during the marriage.

Some couples have very clear plans in place for dividing marital property because they have prenuptial agreements. Many others either have to negotiate property matters or go to court. Florida family law judges interpret and apply the state’s equitable distribution statute. They seek a way to fairly divide property and allocate responsibility for marital debts.

What can someone expect to happen to their shared debts during a Florida divorce?

Some debts may not be part of the marital estate

Establishing what assets and financial obligations are marital and which ones are separate is an important part of divorce proceedings. Debts that someone owed before they got married, such as their student loans from college, are likely not part of the marital estate.

Additionally, debts assumed by one spouse as part of an extramarital affair or without the knowledge of the other spouse could potentially be the sole responsibility of the spouse who took on those debts. Both the timing of when someone accrued a debt and the intention behind taking on that financial responsibility can affect which dots are part of the marital estate.

There are many solutions for marital debts

The financial responsibilities taken on during the marriage are part of the marital estate. Judges can divide them between the two spouses or use the debt to balance other economic decisions made during the divorce.

Factors ranging from child custody arrangements, separate property and income levels can influence how a judge allocates debts. Sometimes, spouses split financial responsibilities. One spouse may take on far more financial responsibility than the other. Some couples may find it more effective to use marital resources to fully pay off marital debts during the divorce instead of passing responsibility for those obligations to either spouse after the divorce. Couples who manage to negotiate their own settlements can potentially agree to whatever terms they deem appropriate.

Learning more about Florida’s rules for property division during a divorce by seeking legal guidance can help people plan for the future. Spouses who know what to expect may find divorce to be less challenging overall.