October 26th, 2012, 9:37 am
One of the more frequent causes of marital discord, and eventual divorce, is money problems. When debts become unmanageable, stress rises, and sometimes it contributes to spouses deciding to part ways.While much of the discussion about divorce focuses on property division, debt division is also an issue of contention. As a general rule, debt is divided the same way that assets are — equitably. This means that, generally, the debt that is acquired during the marriage and leading up to the marriage, will be divided equally. This may not be the case in a short-term marriage, and you should speak with an attorney to discuss how a court might handle your individual set of circumstances.
There are situations where debt that is accrued during the marriage is not divided, however. For example, if one spouse is accruing debt by spending money on a boyfriend or girlfriend outside of the marriage, the other spouse should not be obligated to pay down that debt. Another example could be gambling debt. However, if the other spouse was aware of the gambling habit, and had benefited from gambling winnings during better times, a judge would likely divide the new debt under a traditional analysis.
About the Authors: Christopher J. Finn and Jonathan R. Eaton are divorce attorneys in Saugus, Massachusetts, at Finn & Eaton, P.C. To find out more about your options with divorce, visit their blog or call them at 781 484-1066 to schedule a free initial consultation.