People become very fixated on retaining certain assets in a divorce. The division of property can have a big influence on someone’s financial stability after they end their marriage, but it isn’t the only consideration.
What happens to your debt will also have a big effect on your overall financial solvency. The more debt that you or your spouse accrued during the marriage, the more reason you have to worry about what those debts might mean for your future. How will a judge handle debts in a divorce?
Equitable distribution is the guiding consideration
A New York judge making decisions in a divorce case has to base those decisions on state laws. When it comes to property division, equitable distribution is the rule in New York, which means that a judge needs to prioritize fairness.
Both the nature of the debts and the ability of each spouse to make payments can influence how to split that fairly. A judge might order one spouse to handle all the credit card debt but also give them more assets or diminish their other financial responsibilities to reflect those debt payments. Other times, a judge will do their best to split the debts evenly between spouses so that they both have responsibilities for the same approximate amount.
What debts will you have to share?
Certain debts may not be subject to division. If your ex had a credit card from you or if they racked up a bunch of debt conducting an affair, you can probably ask the courts to exclude those amounts from your divorce.
Most other debts accrued during your marriage will wind up divisible, even when they are only in one person’s name. Looking at your financial obligations and assets will help you better understand what to expect during property division for a pending divorce.