What Is Marital Debt And Why Is It Important?
Every single debt that a couple takes on, during their marriage, can be divided if that couple divorces. By being aware of why this is the case, and the consequences of these laws, it’s easier for spouses to prevent themselves from becoming saddled with each other’s debt.
What Is Marital Debt?
Right before we clarify what, specifically, marital debt is, we must clarify what debt is. And, with that in mind, debt is a financial obligation that is owed, by one person, to another person or entity.
Some examples of common debts are as follows:
- Student loan debt.
- Tax debt.
- Healthcare debt.
- Credit card debt.
- Mortgage debt.
With that definition, and those examples, in mind, marital debt is any form of debt that is taken on, by a couple, during their marriage.
Just as an example, if a couple purchases a car and, in order to purchase this car, they take out a loan, then that loan is considered “marital debt.”
No matter the specifics that underlie this marital debt, it is considered “marital property.” During a divorce, marital property is divided according to the state of Florida’s equitable distribution laws.
Right before we go over Florida’s equitable distribution laws, and what it means for a divorcing couple, we must clarify whether or not every marriage involves marital debt and how that works.
Can You Prevent The Division Of Marital Debt?
Even though the state of Florida’s equitable distribution laws classify debts, taken on during the marriage, as marital debt, this doesn’t mean every marriage involves marital debt.
Rather, if a couple signs a prenuptial agreement , before their marriage, that outlines specific provisions for their debt, then the debt they take on may not be considered marital debt.
Some examples of provisions that ensure the spouses, in a marriage, won’t be bound to the other person’s debt, are as follows:
- The student loan debt that both spouses owe will not be commingled and each spouse’s debt is their own.
- The ownership in a business, as well as the debts from that business, belong to one spouse.
- The student loan debt that one spouse owes is the sole property of the spouse who took out the loan.
- The loan that one spouse took out, to buy a car, is the sole property of the spouse who owns the car.
- The mortgage that a spouse took out to buy a home is the sole property of the spouse who owns the home.
Every single one of these provisions can be clarified, within a prenuptial agreement. By clarifying with these agreements, the debts clarified within these provisions will not be divided, in the event of a divorce.
Why Is Marital Debt Important?
Even if one spouse is completely debt-free, if the other spouse isn’t, then a portion of those debts can still go to the spouse who did not take out any loans and is currently debt-free.
Given the costs of a divorce, as well as the costs of alimony and child support obligations, this is not a good position to be in. But, even though this is a common situation that arises from Florida’s laws, it doesn’t have to happen.
Rather, if two spouses clarify what they intend to do with their debt, before a marriage, then they can prevent each other from being saddled with debts that may not be their own.
Speak With A Tampa Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer
The easiest way to avoid being saddled with debts that are not your own is to develop an effective prenuptial agreement. Speak with a Tampa prenuptial agreement lawyer at Westchase Law, P.A. today and we will assist you in doing so.