When you file for divorce in New York, your first priority might be figuring out how to divide up your assets. But contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the assets that get divided up in a divorce. Your debts can also be divided between you and your former spouse. If your state has certain laws regarding divorce, you might end up shouldering part of a debt that you didn’t accumulate.
How are your debts divided up when you file for divorce?
How the debts are divided depends on each state’s property division laws. Some states consider all marital assets to be “community property,” meaning that they must be split evenly during a divorce. This includes stocks, savings accounts, properties and even credit card debt. If you live in a community property state and your spouse racked up credit card debt while you were married, you might get stuck paying off half that debt even though you’re not the one who made those purchases.
However, there are some exceptions. If your spouse deliberately racks up a lot of debt after you announce that you’re filing for divorce, you probably won’t have to take on that debt. Additionally, you won’t be responsible for debts accrued through gambling or having an affair.
Luckily, New York isn’t a community property state, so you might not have to take on your spouse’s debts when you file for divorce. Since New York is a common law state, your former spouse should be solely responsible for any debt they’ve accumulated.
Who can help you divide debts and assets during a divorce?
Property division can be one of the most stressful parts of getting divorced. An attorney may be able to help you divide your debts and assets and prevent you from getting unfairly saddled with your partner’s debts.