Dividing Debts During and After Your Divorce
Going through a divorce can wreak havoc on your financial affairs. While property and debts are to be divided fairly between you and your spouse, either through mutual agreements or under order by the Florida courts, you need an experienced divorce lawyer on your side to ensure your interests are protected. To minimize the potential risks and impacts you could suffer, there are things you need to do before, during, and after your divorce to ensure the best possible outcome.
Before Your Divorce
At the first sign of an impending marital separation or future divorce proceedings, you should conduct a complete inventory of you and your spouse’s property, assets, and debts. This should include the following:
- Personal property in your home, such as furniture and furnishings, antiques or collectible items, tools, and sports or recreational equipment.
- Any property you own, including homes, rental properties, and timeshares;
- Stocks, bonds, and shares in businesses;
- Financial accounts, including retirement and pension benefits;
- Mortgages, car payoff amounts, and other types of secured loans;
- Unsecured loans, such as credit card balances.
Make a note of how much both you and your spouse earn, and go through your old bank statements and prior year tax returns to make sure there are no accounts or other sources of income you are not aware of.
During Your Divorce
Under Section 61.075 of the Florida Statutes, during a divorce all marital property and debts are to be divided in a way that is fair to both parties, taking into consideration the following factors;
- The length of the marriage;
- The income and earning capacity of both spouses;
- Any career or education sacrifices the parties made in support of their partner or children of the marriage;
- Any actions taken in adding to or decreasing the value of marital assets and debts.
You may not be held responsible for debts your spouse incurred due to a drinking, drug, or gambling problem or as the result of an affair.
After Your Divorce
Just because your divorce is final and a settlement is in place, it is never safe to assume a loan is being paid off. The Balance advises that even if your spouse is responsible for paying a certain debt, you can still be held liable for it if your name is on the credit or loan agreement. Any debts your partner assumes should be transferred to their name only, and it may be necessary for them to take out a loan in their own name to settle the balance on a joint account. Check your credit report on a regular basis in the year or so after a divorce, and consult with an experienced lawyer if you notice any discrepancies.
We are Here to Help You Today
When going through a separation or when contemplating a divorce, get the professional representation you need and contact Vanessa L. Prieto. We act as a strong legal advocate to ensure your rights are protected during Florida divorce proceedings. Call or contact us online today to request a free, confidential consultation to discuss the issues involved in your situation.