Rodney Jensen and Madeline Jensen

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Don’t walk away with an unfair portion of marital debt

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2023 | Divorce

As you prepare to leave your marriage, you understand that you are facing significant changes and potential challenges. As you adjust and transition to your post-divorce life, one of the most significant changes that you will experience involves your finances. You know that it is important to seek a fair division of marital property, but it is important to pursue a fair division of marital debt as well.

This is a matter that is easy to overlook as you are thinking about where you will live, what will happen to your property and how much time you will get to spend with your kids. However, it is prudent to give thought to the marital debt you may have accumulated over the course of your marriage. You do not want to walk away with an unreasonable or unfair portion of this financial obligation.

Joint responsibility for joint debt

If you and your spouse both accumulated debt over the course of your marriage, then you are both responsible for paying for it, even if there is a discrepancy in your two incomes. What will happen to this debt depends on factors such as whether you had a prenup, state laws and which spouse’s name is on your credit cards. Credit card debt is one of the most common types of debt, and couples tend to have double the average balance than a single individual.

Minnesota couples often have mortgage debt, as well as auto loans for which they may be jointly responsible. Any student loans brought into the marriage by one spouse are separate debt, unless both spouses’ names are on the loan. Once you make the decision to divorce, it is wise to stop using joint cards and to immediately stop the accumulation of marital debt.

Equitable does not necessarily mean equal

The key word in the division of marital debt should be equitable, not equal. A fair division of your joint outstanding balances is not necessarily 50-50, but rather, it should be based on factors such as financial contributions of each spouse, why the debt accumulated in the first place and more. You have the right to pursue terms in your order that will allow you to face your financial future after divorce with confidence and security.