How Does New York Handle Dividing Debt During Divorce?

woman removing wedding ring

Making the decision to end a marriage is often challenging and not without extensive consideration. After all, marriage is a legal union, meaning it can be a tiring process to endure. However, the dissolution of marriage is something that half of all married couples will experience, so ensuring you know how to properly navigate the process is crucial. One of the most pressing questions surrounds understanding how dividing debt is decided. Luckily, divorce attorneys in Nassau County can help you get answers and ensure you are not responsible for an unfair amount of marital debt.

What Is Equitable Distribution When Dividing Debt?

Though it may seem that debt will simply be split evenly between spouses, this is not always the case. New York operates under the equitable distribution process, meaning the debt will be split based on the circumstances of each spouse.

This helps prevent a dependent spouse from garnering responsibility for 50% of the debt if they do not have the income to sustain themselves while paying the debt.

However, if you and your spouse make comparable income, you may be required to split the debt evenly. If you want to incur a smaller percentage of the debt, you may compromise with your spouse to give them an asset in exchange for less debt. This helps offset the cost of taking on more debt.

What Is Considered Before Debt is Divided?

Before debt is divided among the parties, the court will need to consider a few factors. This helps ensure the split between spouses is equal and fair. The court will consider the following factors when dividing debt:

  • The income of both parties
  • Contributions made by one party as the primary earner
  • Which spouse benefited most from the debt
  • The age and health status of each party
  • How long the marriage lasted

However, there are some types of debt that are considered individual. This includes student loans, gambling debt, debt owed before the marriage, and any debt incurred by one spouse spending money on an extramarital affair.

What Happens if My Spouse Doesn’t Cooperate?

If your spouse is not cooperating with their debt payment, you may feel it is unfair to pay their share. However, if they do not keep up on payments on joint accounts, like credit cards, you can be impacted by the late or missed payment, even if you are not responsible for paying off that debt.

Luckily, you can request enforcement from the state, as this helps protect your credit score in the event your spouse is not keeping up with their required payments.

When going through a divorce, don’t endure the process alone. Hiring a seasoned attorney can help ensure you are not inundated with an unfair amount of debt. Contact Barrows Levy PLLC for a free consultation today.

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