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How Marital Property and Marital Debt Are Divided In a Divorce


Written By: Judy Goldberg | Divorce and Family Mediator 

When you are going through a divorce with your spouse, the issues that come with the dividing of your property and debt in a fair manner are inevitable. The property that you and your spouse share are called marital property. This includes any houses, cars, furniture, and anything else that you purchased together. Things such as car loans, mortgage, and joint credit card debts that both you and your spouse are responsible for are called marital debt.

This begs the question of how marital property and debt can be divided among the two parties in a fair manner after divorce.

The article will address this matter in detail.

Marital Property

When it comes to dividing property after a divorce, fair does not always mean that each person gets half of everything. Judges’ decisions are usually based on whether one person is more at fault in the other for the marriage end, or if one person is more in need of the property. It can also be divided by one person taking on more marital debt in exchange for more marital property.

Separate Property

Separate property refers to things that are owned solely by you. It could be something that you owned before the marriage, such as an apartment or a car. It could also be gift or inheritance that you received during your marriage. However, in the case that your spouse contributes to doing something with the property, such as helping to renovate the house that increases its value, separate property can be divided as well. This means that separate property can turn into marital property if the increase in value is as a result of both parties’ efforts. Moreover, separate property can be divided if your spouse’s share of the marital property is not enough to satisfy them, and you need to share with them your separate property.

Transferring Titles

Once your judge has made the decision on who gets to keep what, you then need to transfer titles or deeds by signing and filing the required paperwork. For example, if it has been decided that you should be the one to keep the house, but both your names are on the current deed, then you will need a quitclaim deed. This means that your spouse, as the person who is not keeping the house, will have to sign the quitclaim deed to transfer their interest in the house to you. Then, your Judgement of Divorce will have both you and your spouse complete the documents required to transfer property.

Marital Debt

As with marital property, your judge has the power to decide how your marital debt is going to be divided between you and your spouse. Again, it does not always have to be divided in half for it to be considered fair. The decision is based on whether one person is more at fault for the divorce or whether one is capable of paying more. It can also be based on whether one person is more responsible for the debt that does not involve the other spouse’s consent. For example,  if your spouse has a gambling problem, the debt that incurred is not your responsibility, and you will not have to be responsible for that debt.

Separate Debt

Just as with marital property and separate property, you can also have separate debt. This refers to debts that you acquired before the marriage. Any debts that incur during the marriage will be considered marital debt, with exceptions of gambling debts, expenses spent on extramarital affairs, and other debts that do not involve the other spouse. Differentiating separate debt from marital debt can be complicated as the line can be blurry. For instance, student loans can be treated as separate debt if they were used for one spouse’s education, but it can also be considered marital debt if the loans were used to support the household.

The Law Office of Judy Goldberg specializes in divorce mediation in CT. Get in touch today to see how we can help.

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