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Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller, P.A
 
My spouse is racking up debt, but I want a divorce. How might this affect me?

My spouse is racking up debt, but I want a divorce. How might this affect me?

It is common knowledge that disagreement over finances is one of the most common reasons for divorce. However, most people don’t know what to do when their spouse is racking up serious debt that they do not wish to be responsible for in a divorce.

Unfortunately, with few exceptions, all debts accrued during a marriage are considered marital debts under Florida law. This means that both parties are responsible for the debts of the other, even if the debt is in only one person's name (such as an individual credit card). Furthermore, if one spouse has pre-marital credit card debt and those credit cards are used during the marriage, the Court may find that the debt has become "commingled" and all the debt on that credit card will be marital and distributed evenly at the time of the divorce.

Student loan debt could also be considered marital if it was accrued during the marriage; it doesn’t matter if only your spouse benefitted from their education. At times, this result may seem highly inequitable such as when the spouse goes to veterinary or medical school and graduates with a high income earning ability while the other spouse may not have that same income earning ability. In divorces, the Court commonly distributes assets and debts equitably amongst the parties—meaning you could be responsible for up to half of your spouse’s debts.

If your spouse is accruing debt and you wish to proceed with a divorce, it is essential that you file as soon as possible. The Court often considers the filing date to be the appropriate date for valuation of assets and debts, meaning that if you file early, the Court likely won’t consider debts accrued after the date of filing to be marital debts. If you think you are ready to go forward with a divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss the details of your case. The best way to ensure that your interests are protected is to hire an expert to handle your case for you—don’t attempt to take action on your own.

In addition to divorce matters, our firm also takes on cases involving child support, custody battles, relocation issues, domestic violence injunctions, will and probate, criminal defense, personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. While our main office is in Gainesville, we also handle family law matters through our satellite offices in Ocala, Chiefland, Lake City, and Palatka.

For help with your legal issue, contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free phone consultation at (866) 496-8752 or via email at Info@ForYourLaw.com

BY: Stephanie N. Mack, Board Certified Marital & Family Law Attorney

February 18, 2013
 
 
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