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Divorce Litigation Bullet Guide (Part 12) Marital Debt and Property Issues

Divorce Litigation Bullet Guide (Part 12) Marital Debt and Property IssuesMr. Darren Shapiro frequently serves as a source of guidance and support to his clients during divorce litigation cases. However, he also finds that many clients come to him with limited insight into what it really means to go through a litigation process. Though you can find many articles and blogs on this website to help you answer common questions about divorce litigation, these bullet-point guides serve as a curated collection of quick tips and facts for those in need.

In this segment of the Divorce litigation guide, the focus is on marital debt, and how they’re divided during divorce litigation. The information available will also touch on the family home, and how the courts can approach splitting the value of real estate between two parties.

Distributing Debts in Divorce Litigation

New York courts use the equitable distribution guidelines to determine how assets and debts can be fairly split between two parties. The assets and debts divided between you and your ex-spouse won’t always be shared 50-50, but they will be delivered according to what the courts deem to be fair, unless you are able to agree on a solution in advance with a divorce attorney like Mr. Shapiro.

  • Marital debts are divided just like marital assets in a divorce. The courts will determine what they consider to be fair based on a number of factors, including the income of both parties, and their earning potential. Marital debts are the debts defined to be shared by both parties. If a debt emerged during the course of a marriage, it is usually deemed marital debt, provided it was used for marital purposes.
  • New York law dictates that financial obligations occurring during a marriage that don’t belong to a single spouse should be divided in the same way as marital assets. However, there is a burden of proof for the lawyer in the case to prove that these debts were created for marital purposes.
  • The person asking to share the debt needs to prove it came from something related to the marriage, such as paying for a household extension or repair. Courts will look at all of the documents provided, alongside testimony elicited by attorneys like Mr. Shapiro to determine the link between debts and marriages.
Splitting the Family Home in Divorce

In divorce litigation, dividing debts and assets is often a difficult process. When it’s clear that a debt belongs to both of the people involved in the marriage, such as with a marital residence, the courts can agree that both spouses must pay towards that debt. However, deciding what should happen to the family home isn’t always easy.

  • Mr Shapiro often finds that parties in a divorce with an amicable relationship may be able to come to an agreement on what should happen to the family home. Some might choose to sell the home, and have the proceeds divided between them. If the parties can’t agree on a decision outside of the courtroom, a judge will need to take over. The court will examine the same factors considered in equitable distribution to determine what should happen to the property.
  • Judges look at a range of factors when determining how to split the family home between two spouses. Courts may consider the mental or physical health of the individuals, which spouse has custody of the children, and more. The judges may also consider non-financial contributions to the family home. In some cases, the courts will rule for the house to be sold at a later time – such as when the children have finished school. This could be the case when finances are available so that the couple can wait for the distribution of the home.
  • It’s more common for the courts to simply order an immediate sale of the family home when another agreement can’t be reached. However, couples that attempt to keep the family home with an agreement will have to consider all elements of managing that home carefully. Mortgages and remaining debts may need to be considered and refinanced in the name of the spouse who becomes responsible for the home.
The Division of Debts and Assets in Litigation

Dividing debts and assets in the process of a divorce litigation procedure is often a complicated and emotional process. There’s more to this activity than simply splitting what the couple owns fifty fifty. Instead, the court needs to consider the unique nature of the situation and determine what is fair.

When a couple comes together in marriage, they entwine the various parts of their lives together in such a way that it’s often difficult to untangle those elements later on. Combining debts, and assets in marriage means that you will need to figure out a way to separate them going forward, or risk have the courts make the decision for you. Having the right support from a divorce attorney like Mr. Darren Shapiro could assist with making this process as painless as possible.

If you have any issues with the information above that you would like to discuss further, you can contact Mr. Darren Shapiro at a time that suits you. Currently, thirty minute consultations are available for free via various methods of communication, including video conferencing and telephone calls. You can also have your meeting in-person.

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