It’s common knowledge that marital assets are divided between the two spouses during a divorce. But, it is not just the couple’s assets that are divided. Many people do not realize that debt is divided during divorce in New Jersey as well. Here’s what you should know about the process of debt division:
The Equitable Division of Debts
New Jersey is an equitable division state, which means that a couple’s assets and debts are divided equitably between the two parties of a divorce. This does not necessarily mean that the assets and debts are divided equally, but rather that they are divided fairly.
It’s important to note that the equitable division law in New Jersey only applies to marital assets and debts. For this reason, the first step in the process of dividing debt is identifying all debts and classifying each one as either marital or separate.
Marital vs. Non-Marital Debts
Marital debt is one that is incurred during the course of the marriage or incurred to cover the couple’s expenses. For example, credit card debt that was acquired to cover household expenses such as groceries and utilities is a marital debt. It doesn’t matter if the debt was incurred by one spouse or both spouses together–it is considered marital debt if it meets these conditions.
Non-marital debts include those that were incurred before the marriage or after the couple filed for divorce. The court can also classify debts related to inappropriate or illegal activities as non-martial debt. For example, if one spouse incurred debt during the marriage to pay for gifts for someone he was having an affair with, the court may classify this as a non-marital debt.
Non-marital debt is not subject to division during a divorce. This means the spouse that initially incurred the non-marital debt will be solely responsible for paying it off. However, the marital debts are subject to equitable division during a divorce. The judge will consider a number of factors when deciding how to divide the debt, including each party’s income and earning capacity, the length of the marriage, and their standard of living.
Some couples decide to sell some of their marital assets in order to pay off their marital debt. This simplifies the process of dividing debts and ensures that neither party has to worry about drowning in debt once the divorce has been finalized.
Are you divorcing with debt? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can protect your rights throughout the divorce proceedings. We will ensure the marital assets and debts are divided fairly. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.