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How are debts split during a New Jersey divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2024 | Divorce | 0 comments

Marital debts generally include all financial obligations incurred while spouses remain married. Mortgages, credit card debts and car loans are examples of such debts, which generally must be split between spouses when they go separate ways.

If you are wondering how much marital debt you will end up with in the event that you opt to divorce your spouse, it can help to understand what goes into allocating or dividing these debts more broadly.

What the court considers when dividing marital debt

New Jersey follows an equitable distribution approach when dividing marital assets and liabilities. This means that you can either agree with your spouse on splitting marital debts or the court will apportion debts fairly but not necessarily equally.

This is how divvying debts plays out in New Jersey in practical terms. The unique aspects of your divorce will determine the court’s decision on the division of your marital debt, in the event that you litigate your divorce process. Some of the factors a judge will consider include:

  • The length of your marriage
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • Your standard of living during the marriage
  • The economic circumstances and earning capacity of each spouse
  • Any outstanding debts or liabilities
  • Other factors the court deems relevant

It’s important to note that the court’s directives will not automatically release you from debts under your name. You may still be legally obligated to repay debts you cosigned, even if they are allocated to your spouse. As such, it’s generally a good idea to formally transfer debts to the spouse assigned to repay them.

The debt division process is not always smooth sailing. Some debts may be contentious, such as those incurred recklessly or in bad faith and those that did not directly benefit both parties. As such, seeking legal guidance can help you navigate such hurdles and better ensure that you get your deserving share of the marital estate.