When some people think about going through a divorce, they envision the division of assets like their home and their vehicles. They think about custody and parenting time. But they often neglect thinking about marital debt.
Arizona is a “community property” state. This means that any property you and your spouse acquired during your marriage should be divided equally. The only exceptions are gifts and inheritances. Debt is considered community property. Therefore, upon dissolution of your marriage, any marital debt that exists will likely be divided equally between you and your spouse.
It is important to understand this concept as you are planning your financial future, post-divorce. Many people fail to think about the need to transfer credit card balances and/or making payments towards paying down the debt after a divorce.
What is Considered Marital Debt?
In Arizona, basically, any type of debt you and your spouse acquired during your marriage is considered marital debt. Furthermore, the court does not consider which party incurred the debt, as long as the debt was acquired during the marriage. Indeed, if your spouse applied for a credit card and ran up ten thousand dollars’ worth of debt during your marriage, you are likely on the hook for half of that amount. Types of marital debt could include:
- Automobile loans
- Credit cards
- Mortgage loans
- Personal loans
- Student loans
- Tax debt
Both secured and unsecured debt counts as marital debt.
Challenging the Claimed Marital Debt
Both you and your spouse should present each other with a list of debts that are likely considered to be marital debt. You should have your Tempe divorce attorney review this list and investigate when and how the credit accounts were opened. You should not accept your spouse’s debt summary on face value. Investigate the merits to ensure that an account opened prior to your marriage is not included. This is extremely important because if you agree to assume a portion of that debt as part of the marital dissolution agreement, then you are on the hook for that debt.
If you and your spouse disagree on how to divide your marital debt, the court will make the decision and enter an order with the stipulated debt division.
Contact an Experienced Phoenix Divorce Lawyer Today
The ability to negotiate the terms of divorce, including a reasonable division of marital debt, is extremely important. Ideally, you should strike to try and resolve your differences outside of court to save significant time and money. The Law Office of Ronald L. Kossack can help. The firm has years of experience and knows how to negotiate to reach an amicable resolution in a divorce. Of course, if a negotiation proves to be unproductive, the firm is ready to take your case to court. Contact our office to set up a free, confidential consultation, call us today 480.345.2652.