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What Happens to Debt in a Florida Divorce?

If you are considering getting divorced or have already filed, one of your biggest concerns may be in regards to your future financial stability. Divorce means that your marital assets and properties will be calculated and then distributed between you and your former spouse.

However, it's not just your assets that will be divided. Any debt you and your spouse have will be split up as well and this can be a very challenging process. If you are divorcing and have debt, you should know how it can affect your divorce settlement and what it could mean for your future.

To begin with, you should understand that in Florida, property division is done in accordance with state equitable distribution laws. This means that unless you are able to come to an agreement with your spouse on your own, the courts will add up all your martial assets and distribute them based on what it deems to be fair; not equal, but fair.

Debts that exist will be included in the division of property if they are considered to be marital property. This means that it was incurred during the time two people are married. If you have separate debt that existed before the marriage, it would generally be considered a separate liability and it likely would not be eligible for distribution.

It should also be understood that once the division of property has been resolved, you can still be held financially accountable for existing debts like credit card debt. Unless you go through the process of converting a joint account into an individual one, creditors can still come after you or your ex for payment even if the divorce assigned the debt to just one person.

Millions of people in the U.S. carry some kind of debt including medical debt, student loans and mortgages. Discussing your financial situation with your attorney to make sure you are clear on how the debt could be divided and what your responsibilities are can be an effective way to protect yourself and your financial future.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Credit and Divorce," accessed on Sept. 21, 2015

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