How is Debt Handled in a Divorce in Florida?

As an equitable distribution state, possessions, property, and financial accounts are split fairly in a Florida divorce. Equitable distribution divides assets fairly instead of a down-the-middle split. All marital assets, including debt, are subject to equitable distribution in a Florida divorce. Determining how to split debt during divorce proceedings can be a contentious process. Here’s what you need to know about handling debt when getting divorced. 

What is Marital Debt?

Marital debt is any debt that was acquired during the marriage. In Florida, all debts attained during the marriage are marital debts, even if only one spouse is listed on the account. 

How Common Types of Marital Debt Are Split 

How debts are divided in a marriage depends on the type of debt. Here’s how some common types of debt are distributed in Florida: 

Credit Card Debt or Personal Loans

One spouse is typically responsible for paying off credit card debt after the divorce. However, credit card companies and loan officers will seek payment from anyone listed on an account, regardless of any agreement you and your spouse made during divorce proceedings. That means if your spouse is responsible for making payments and fails to do so, you could be responsible for settling the debt if your name is still on the account.  

Mortgages

During divorce proceedings, you will work with your spouse and family law attorney to determine what will happen to the home and the associated mortgage. Some couples may keep both names on the mortgage and have one spouse responsible for payments. In other cases, you may elect to refinance the home to be put under your ex’s name, eliminating your responsibility for the mortgage. However, qualifying to refinance a home with a single income can be challenging. Alternatively, you can sell the home and split the proceeds from its sale rather than be jointly responsible for the home. 

Student Loans

You’re responsible for your student loans if you acquired them before the marriage and they’re in your name. If the student loan was obtained during the marriage, it’ll be considered a marital asset. 

Car Loans 

If both spouses are on a car loan, they are responsible for paying it off. A divorce decree may appoint the spouse who gets the car to make payments. However, just like credit card companies, lenders will seek out anyone listed on the account for payment if it’s late. 

Medical Debt

Both spouses are usually responsible for medical debt incurred during the marriage. Both spouses will need to pay off medical debt related to their children. If it was an elective procedure, the spouse who benefited from it is usually responsible for payments.

Am I Responsible for My Spouse’s Debt in Florida? 

Yes, you may be responsible for your spouse’s debt. This happens when you have marital debt with both spouses listed on the account. 

Protecting Yourself from Marital Debt Division

The best way to protect yourself from being responsible for marital debt is to remove your name from joint accounts and credit cards. You may also want to consider closing any joint bank accounts. If this isn’t possible, document spending activity and trends to prove that you weren’t responsible for increasing the debt. 

Helping You Through Your Florida Divorce 

Property division and financial affairs are two of the most challenging aspects of divorce proceedings. Have someone on your side to ensure your divorce is settled amicably and fairly. Contact the Remsen Family Law Firm for a low-cost consultation for your Lake County, Florida divorce.