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What happens to the marital debt during a divorce?

Understanding what happens to the marital debt during and after a divorce is an important part of being prepared for life after the divorce and ensuring you understand what financial obligations you will have to meet. In Florida, what happens to debt depends on whether it is a joint or individual account.

While some other states have laws that hold both people responsible for any individual accounts obtained or used during the marriage, Florida does not. If a credit card is in your name only, then you are solely responsible for that debt. This means that your ex will not have to make payments even if the balance includes purchases for the whole family, but it also means you don't have to worry about anyone else affecting your credit.

For joint accounts, the courts usually either split the debts and have each person be responsible for a certain amount or percentage or split the debts themselves so that one person is responsible for one credit card and the other party another, for example. Keep in mind that even if the courts divide the debt or you and your ex reach an agreement about who will be responsible for which debts going forward, you may still have issues with creditors if you or your ex fall behind on any joint accounts.

Sometimes, it's possible to present the creditors with a copy of the divorce decree that shows who is to be responsible for paying the debt, but your credit may still be affected if a payment is missed or late. If your ex is not paying the debts he or she is supposed to be, you may be able to talk to a family law attorney about your options.

Source: FindLaw, "Credit and Divorce," accessed March 18, 2016

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