Who Gets What Debt in Divorce isn’t always as easy to figure out as people think. People going through the divorce process are often concerned with property division in divorce. In fact, this is a very common question for most attorneys. Did your spouse come into the marriage with debts? Do you have loans in your name only but for the benefit of the marriage? What does it look like when one spouse has a new car with a loan? Is there a prenuptial agreement that decides this issue in advance? In Oklahoma, our legal system follows the equitable division doctrine. Who gets what debt in divorce depends on several factors.
Dividing Debts in Divorce: Marital Property
Oklahoma generally divides debt into two categories during the divorce process. First, is marital property debt. This will divide under the equitable division doctrine. So, the debt will divide fairly between the parties. But, keep in mind “fairly” does not always mean “equally”. In fact, the person with the highest income will likely be the person with the most to pay off.
Marital Property debts can sub-divide into two smaller categories. First is secured debt. This means that if you default on your debt the creditor can come and claim whatever item it is that you are not making payment on. Examples of secured debt are loans on vehicles, home loans, and more. In a divorce situation, the debt will generally follow the item. So if you have a vehicle with a loan on it, but the other spouse gets the car during the divorce, then they alone will be responsible for paying of the remaining portion of the loan.
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The second type of marital property in dividing debt in divorce is unsecured debt. Generally, unsecured debt takes on the form of credit cards or debt that has no tangible property to show. Because this debt does not have any collateral, it will divide equally between the spouses.
Dividing Debts in Divorce: Separate Property
There are some types of debt that the courts consider separate property. This means the debt is the sole responsibility of the person who incurs it. For example, student loans for a professional degree are separate debts. The law designates these as separate because the benefits of the debt are future benefits. Your spouse will not be able to receive those future benefits, and thus should not be required to invest in them. However, if these loans are taken to pay tuition and supplement household income, the court may consider them marital debt since the entire household benefits from the loan.
Creek County Divorce Attorneys
Who Gets What Debt in Divorce can be a messy process, but there are rules that may help you. As described above, they look at the crucial distinction of when the debt was acquired. If you’re facing divorce and debt division, our Creek County Divorce Attorneys can help. Get the legal advantage you deserve. Don’t pay for things that you otherwise aren’t responsible for.