Debt may be as common as a Big Mac from McDonald’s, but it doesn’t mean it’s greatly appreciated – or even understood, for that matter. Throw in a division of debts secondary to a divorce and things get really complicated really fast.
New Jersey divorce courts are swamped with husbands and wives bickering over assets, debts, custody issues and who gets left holding ‘the bag’, so to speak. So how do divorce courts really decide how debts are divided in a New Jersey divorce. As part of the divorce proceedings, the court will determine the best route (and fairest route) to dividing debts, including taking a look at all aspects of the marriage and divorce, both financially and in how assets are allocated. Generally, joint marital debts are divided equally among both parties during a divorce judgment.
Once the divorce court rules on the division of the joint debts of the marriage, each party is obligated by law to pay their portion of the debt. In cases where the spouse will not or cannot pay the debts they are assigned in a divorce judgment, the creditor retains the right to go after the individual or party responsible for the debt. If you find that your ex is not meeting his or her obligations, then a petition to enforce the divorce agreement is made where the ex will have to explain their reasoning for lack of compliance. Oftentimes, a divorced couple burdened with significant debt finds themselves pursuing alternative debt relief measures, such as filing for bankruptcy or debt consolidation. While bankruptcy will alleviate most financial burdens related to debt, it will not relieve child support or spousal support debt or payments.
As is true with all relationships, whether married, single or divorcing, no debt is the best debt. Settling debt conflicts prior to or during the divorce is in the best interest of both parties. If all else fails, having a clear financial picture with clearly delineated assets and debts going into court can give you a fairly good idea of where your feet will be landing when the division of debts is assigned.
If you have questions about your New Jersey divorce contact us today.