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Advice for Allocation of Marital Debt

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Before you start dividing up the real estate, retirement plans and record collections in a property settlement, a Colorado Springs divorce lawyer recommends taking a close look at your debt allocation. 

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During a marriage, most couples acquire some form of debt; whether it is a home equity loan, unsecured personal loan or credit card debt.  Just like the joint assets owned by a couple are considered marital property, joint debt must also be divided before a divorce can become final.  For many couples, debt allocation can be tricky.  That's because there is no law in Colorado saying it must be split 50-50.  Instead, the law simply provides a vague provision that includes the phrase “equitable division” of debts.

In many cases, both attorneys and courts will advise couples to settle for a 50-50 split. However, since debt and assets are divided on the same property settlement, some couples choose to give one party more debt and more assets, or fewer debts and fewer assets. 

Here are some key points to remember when dividing up debt in a divorce:

  • When a credit card is in the name of one spouse, that debt doesn’t automatically become his or her responsibility.  In fact, the balance becomes 100% “marital debt”.
  • Marital debt also includes things like student loans, gambling losses, unpaid taxes, and shopping sprees. 
  • As long as the debt was acquired during the marriage it fits the bill, so to speak.  This even includes debt that was acquired without the knowledge – or approval – of the other spouse.
  • And as if that isn’t enough to take in; the courts will not even allow marital misconduct of the parties to be considered when the court is determining the disposition of property and debt. 

If you are looking for a way to ensure you don’t get stuck paying for more than your fair share of marital debt in a Colorado divorce, seek the advice of an experienced Colorado Springs divorce lawyer.  Without proper legal representation, you may not be happy with the outcome.

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