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What should I know about splitting marital debt?

Debt can be a big concern for divorcing couples in Connecticut. The Nutmeg State is an equitable distribution state, which means a judge will divide up marital property based on the contribution of each spouse toward the marriage. You can expect a state judge to apply the same standard to the amount of marital debt that a couple has accumulated during a marriage.

According to Clearpoint, the debt of a couple needs to be designated as marital or separate debt. Separate debt will belong to the spouse who owns it and will not be spread to the other spouse. It is when spouses comingle expenses that marital debt is designated. For instance, when both spouses co-sign a loan for a house, a car or a boat, the debt is considered to be a marital debt. When spouses contribute money towards an expense, it is considered marital debt as well.

While a Connecticut court will likely apply the equitable distribution standard in dividing up marital debt, this does not mean that other factors cannot affect the debt separation. In some divorces, a couple may sell off a jointly owned asset, like a house, and divide up the proceeds. However, in other cases one spouse may end up keeping an asset. Sometimes a judge will assign the remainder of the debt to the spouse who retains the asset. The retaining spouse will then refinance the loan to remove the other spouse from it, although this can be hard to accomplish.

Debt organization is vital during a divorce since it not only helps to disentangle you from your ex-spouse, but it lets you know where you stand. As far as creditors are concerned, it does not matter if you have split from your spouse. If you are a party to debt, they will still try to collect from you, and if you fail to make payments, your credit could be hurt. This is why divorcing spouses need to separate their joint accounts so that each spouse is not on the hook for the other’s expenses.

Debt issues can be complicated. Couples going through a marital split may need the advice of an experienced divorce attorney to understand their options going forward. Due to the varying needs of Connecticut couples, do not consider this article on family law to be legal advice; it is intended for educational benefit only.

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