How are marital debts split?

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2022 | Divorce |

If you get a divorce in the state of Michigan, you’re typically entitled to a portion of the marital estate. However, you may also be required to pay a portion of any debt that was accumulated while married. Let’s take a closer look at the factors that may determine how much you’ll have to contribute as part of a final divorce settlement.

Do you have an ability to contribute to outstanding debt balances?

Your contribution to any outstanding marital debt balances will be based on how much you can afford to pay without causing a financial hardship. If a judge determines that you have the means to pay half of a $5,000 credit card balance, you’ll be responsible for $2,500 of joint debt. However, if a judge determines that your spouse has the means to cover the entire balance, he or she may be ordered to do so. Of course, the division of marital debts may also be resolved through private talks or with the help of a mediator.

Did you see any benefit from going into debt?

Let’s say that your spouse opened a credit card account to fund a new business prior to the divorce. In such a scenario, you may be held harmless for that debt if the company failed or wasn’t especially profitable. However, you may be on the hook for that debt if you received equity in the company or had access to the revenue that it generated.

As a general rule, marital debts are often split using the same guidelines that are used to split marital assets. Tax returns, bank statements and other records may be used to help determine which debts you may be responsible for and which ones your estranged spouse should be responsible for paying.