When you are married in New York State, everything that you and your spouse buy, collect, and acquire becomes marital property, unless you have some sort of prenuptial agreement that says otherwise. From your family car to even your family business, all of it becomes communal, and all of it needs to be split up fairly using equitable distribution should you get a divorce. To make it clear, equitable does not mean “equal” or “50-50”, it means “fair” or you get what the court thinks you deserve. And it does not apply just to property you want, it also applies to debt you do not.
On joint credit cards, it is probably obvious that the debt is connected between the two of you. That is the nature of the credit line, after all. Marital property debt can also be accrued between the two of you on purchases just one spouse makes but makes for the family. More or less, unless you keep very strict and concise financial records, any debt you or your spouse shared during your marriage will become a problem for the both of you during your divorce.
If You Can’t Decide, The Court Will
Property division can be tricky to establish outside of court, but it is not impossible. Debt division is a different matter entirely because no one wants to collect debt, especially when they believe it shouldn’t be theirs in the first place. If an agreement cannot be reached between the two of you, a New York divorce court will have to determine who deserves more of the debt.
Characteristics of each spouse the court will consider include:
- Spending history
- Nonmonetary household contributions
- Amount of personal debt
The length of the marriage and the perceived happiness of each spouse before the divorce began may also play a factor into debt division. Generally, the longer and happier the marriage had been, the more likely the debt will be divided evenly.
If you need a family law attorney on Long Island to help you with your divorce case and debt division dispute, Hedayati Law Group P.C. is here to help. We have nearly a century of combined legal experience we can put to work for you, protecting your rights and future wellbeing as you start a new chapter in your life.