What Can We Do with Our Marital Debt?
When your marriage ends in divorce, all of your marital assets and debts must be divided between you and your spouse. These are the assets and debts you obtained or accrued together during your marriage.
Carrying debt through the divorce process can be a burden. Many couples choose to reduce or eliminate their marital debts before starting the divorce process to make it easier for themselves, because divorce in itself is expensive. Here are a few options for handling your marital debt:
Pay it Off
If your debt is at a manageable level and you and your spouse feel you can work together to pay it off before you file for divorce, this could be a simple, straightforward option for you. Even if you cannot pay it all off before filing for divorce, paying off as much of your marital debt as you can and then splitting the rest can make your divorce a whole lot less stressful than it otherwise might be.
Split it Between Yourselves
Similar to paying it off, splitting your marital debt yourselves is a way to maintain control of what happens to the debt. If you can work cooperatively with your spouse, you can determine an appropriate breakdown of your marital debt and transfer it to individual credit cards, eliminating your joint credit cards. This might not be as easy if you are facing other types of debt, like medical or student debt.
File for Bankruptcy Before you File for Divorce
If you have a large amount of marital debt that neither you nor your spouse can comfortably handle, filing for joint bankruptcy might be an option for you. There are pros and cons to filing for joint bankruptcy with your spouse, so you will need to confer with your spouse and your lawyer to determine whether this is the right course of action for you. A few of the benefits include discharging your debt efficiently and overall, the cost of completing the bankruptcy is lower when you do it jointly. However, it can prolong the time until you can file for divorce.
Let the Court Divide your Marital Debt
You can also choose to have the court divide your marital debt for you. If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement about dividing your marital debt, this could be your only choice.
In Florida, marital debts are treated like marital assets: divided equitably during the divorce process. If this is how your marital debt is handled, the court will take a holistic approach to determine the most appropriate debt breakdown for you.
Work with an Experienced Orlando Divorce Lawyer
Many American households have outstanding debt, and many divorcing couples find themselves facing their debt when they choose to end their marriages. To discuss your case and your options in greater detail with an experienced Orlando divorce lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. today to set up your initial legal consultation in our office.