In the State of New York, debt distribution during a divorce is handled in the same way as asset division. If a couple is unable to determine a mutually acceptable arrangement for the division of their collective debt, the issue is solved in court via an “equitable distribution” rule. Under this law, a judge will determine an arrangement that is aimed at placing a fair portion of the debt burden on each spouse.
While the term “equitable,” may lead many to assume that the judge’s decision will be a simple 50/50 split, this is not always the case. One spouse may be held responsible for a larger sum if the judge thinks it is warranted in conjunction with the circumstances of the divorce.
The decision will be influenced by the following factors:
- The income of the spouses
- Division of marital assets
- Custody arrangements
- The health and age of the spouses
- Spousal support agreements
- The length of the marriage
- Wasteful spending
In some cases, it is possible that an overspending spouse can be held fully responsible for their acquired debts, though this requires showing proof that incurring the debt was irresponsible and served no marital purpose. Most debts are considered to be marital property, regardless of who incurred the debt. Credit card bills, mortgages, and car loans are all subject to equitable distribution.
Once a judge has made a decision, it has the enforceability of law and is not subject to modification. Since a judge’s ruling is final, it is highly encouraged that spouses work together towards a mutually agreeable solution to their debt distribution before pursuing court involvement. With the assistance of a skilled divorce lawyer, collaboration can help couples avoid a lengthy and contentious legal battle.
Divorcing? Hire a Dutchess County Divorce Attorney
If you are in the beginning stages of a divorce, a knowledgeable family lawyer from the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC can walk you through the complex legal process and guide you towards a harmonious solution. If collaboration with your spouse proves to be impossible, our firm is ready to go the distance on your behalf and fight to protect your interests in a court of law. With our 40+ years of experience and compassionate legal advocacy, your case is sure to be in good hands.
Take advantage of your free case evaluation or call our office today at (845) 605-4330.