How Does a Divorce Court View Debts?

Law Blog

When a marriage ends in acrimony and the two parties want to go their own separate ways, they will want to figure out how any assets are going to be shared as a matter of priority. Yet this can only be part of the story, especially if the relationship was somewhat complex and financial problems might have arisen before. If you're in this situation, do you need to consider debts as well as credits when looking at any financial distribution?

Understanding the Situation

In a situation like this, it is not unusual for one party to have significantly more assets than the other and for the latter to seek some equity. They may be worried about their future from an economic point of view and may feel that the other party should account for their living costs going forward. A court of law may well look at these assets from an equitable point of view and insist that an agreed amount be transferred. However, the situation may be more complex if there are outstanding debts as well.

Assessing Pros and Cons

In this case, each individual debt is likely to be considered on its own merit before any decision is made. The court will want to know why the debt is still outstanding and how it was created in the first place. If, for example, the party with the largest assets had decided to incur the debt to try and reduce their liability, then the court may decide that they are fully responsible for that debt. Generally speaking, they will look at the behaviour of both parties to see if either or both contributed to the outstanding amount and how it should be rectified.

If, on the other hand, the debt is found to be the responsibility of both parties, then each will be responsible for satisfying it. Therefore, some of the money that would otherwise have been distributed to both parties will need to be diverted, in order to take care of this outstanding amount.

Presenting Your Case

If you are facing this situation, you will need to put forward a strong case in support of your position, especially if you do not feel that you are responsible in any way for the debt. It's a good idea to get a divorce lawyer to help you present your case, as otherwise, you may find that you come out on the wrong side of the judgement.


23 April 2020

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