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Trusted Counsel for Complex Debt Division in Suffolk & Nassau Counties
When going through a divorce, the division of debts and property can be extremely confusing. This is especially true in situations involving marital debt or high net worth individuals.
When significant debts are involved, there are several things that need to be sorted out before the divorce can be finalized.
Is New York a Community Property State?
New York is not a community property state. New York is an equitable distribution state, meaning that both marital property and debts will be divided between spouses during divorce in a manner that is considered equitable, or fair.
It is important to note that this does not always mean equal, as the court’s decision on what is fair will be influenced by numerous factors that evaluate a spouse’s overall contribution to the marriage.
Equitable distribution laws will only take effect in the event that separating spouses cannot come to an agreement on their own regarding the distribution of debt. Spouses can avoid having the state decide this issue by collaborating towards a mutual debt-sharing agreement.
Before debts can be divided, they must be classified as either marital or separate. Marital debts are any financial obligations that are incurred throughout the course of the marriage and are the equal responsibility of both spouses regardless of who incurred the debt. Conversely, debts that are incurred before the marriage or after the date of separation are considered separate and are the sole responsibility of one spouse. An attorney from our firm can help you classify your debts, learn who incurred them, when they were incurred, and how the debt was used.
All debts must be divided, including:
- Car loans
- Home loans/mortgages
- Credit card debt
- Student loans
- Personal loans
- Medical debt
- Utility bills
- Business debts
- Payday loans
It is often a wise choice for spouses to close any joint accounts they share as soon as they decide to get divorced. Doing this will prevent one spouse from incurring additional debt under a joint account which could negatively impact the other spouse’s credit rating.