As Florida couples begin the process of divorce, they will need to divide most aspects of their lives. While people often think about how to divide their property, debts incurred during the marriage are also addressed during negotiations and included in the division.
Equitable distribution works for assets and debts
As an equitable distribution state, Florida does not divide assets 50-50 but rather attempts to reach a settlement fair to both spouses. Debts incurred during the marriage are also handled the same way, which means that often, the spouse who receives the larger portion of the assets or who earns significantly more will also receive the biggest portion of the debt and debts incurred separately remain the responsibility of the person who incurred the debt.
Dividing the mortgage
The family home is often the biggest asset owned by the couple, but it can also be their biggest debt if they still have an unpaid mortgage. There are several ways to address this debt. The ways include:
- One spouse buys out the other spouse’s interest and pays the mortgage themselves
- Spouses sell the home before the divorce, pay off the mortgage and then divide any proceeds
- One spouse refinances the mortgage loan under their name only and keeps both the mortgage and the home
Credit cards can be tricky
If the couple has credit card debt as they head towards divorce, the recommended course of action is for the spouses to pay off the joint credit card and then to close it. If the credit card is in only one spouse’s name, the debt will remain the responsibility of that spouse. But to avoid any additional unwanted changes, it is always best to remove the other spouse as an authorized user.
Debt can create complications later if not handled properly. Addressing debt early in the divorce process can help you keep more control of your finances.