Cleveland Family Law Attorneys

How Is Marital Debt Divided In A Divorce?

Throughout a marriage, people in Ohio may acquire many different types and amounts of assets and property. These can include cars, homes, bank accounts, retirement accounts, collectibles, and many other assets.

Couples may also have debt that they have accumulated as well. This could be secured debt such as a mortgage or a car loan, but also includes credit card debt and other types of loans. Just like property must be divided, couples also must divide their debt as well.

The couple must figure out or a judge must decide which spouse will be responsible for each debt that the couple has acquired. However, just like with assets, couples must first determine which debts are marital and which debts are non-marital.

As a general rule, debts incurred prior to a marriage are non-marital and debt incurred during the marriage is marital. Debt is a little different than property division, though because the court cannot order creditors to transfer the debt to different individuals like they can order the transfer of the title of ownership of property.

There are different ways debts can be divided, but generally, if it is a secured debt, the spouse that is awarded the asset with the loan on it will be responsible for the debt as well. For unsecured debt, like credit card debt, the couple will have to analyze the entire situation to determine what is equitable. This usually means first determining which assets each spouse will receive and then dividing the debts accordingly to ensure that each spouse receives a similar total value.

It is fairly common for couples in Ohio to take out loans to pay for houses, cars, home improvements, and other reasons. Many people also have credit cards to pay for larger items they may need or want. All of this debt must be divided during divorce just as the assets need to be divided. Determining which spouse will receive the debt can be complicated though. Experienced attorneys understand how these should be divided and could guide people through the process.