Dividing up marital debts

| Apr 14, 2019 | Property Division

As you enter into your divorce proceedings in Clinton Township, you likely are prepared to have to divide much of your marital property with your spouse. One thing you may not be ready for, however, is to have to split certain elements of your debts. Your hesitancy to assume debts that you do not feel as though you had a hand in accumulating is understandable. This hesitancy has prompted many in your same position to come to us here at The Law Office of Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. asking what they might do to ensure that they are not saddled with their ex-spouse’s debts.

First, the good news: the court will often consider to what extent both you and your ex-spouse contributed to assuming a certain debt. If, for example, your ex-spouse applied for a credit card using your joint information, and then proceeded to charge up that card on their own, the court may decide that repaying its balance is solely their responsibility if the transactions can be traced back to them.

You should know, however, that the court will research such matters thoroughly before making a determination. Per Section 552.401 of Michigan’s Compiled Laws, the court may indeed award you property (yes, debts are considered to be marital property) presumably belonging to your ex-spouse if it believes you had any part in contributing “to the acquisition, improvement, or accumulation of the property.”

Another point to remember is that creditors typically are not bound to respect the assignment in divorce. Thus, if your name is liked to a debt (even one considered to belong to your ex-spouse), a creditor might still come after you for payment. More information on settling debts in a divorce can be found throughout our site.