In Georgia, once you say, “I do,” everything that your spouse does affects you, the same way that anything you do affects your spouse. This is even true when it comes to your spouse’s spending habits. If your spouse racks up thousands of dollars in credit card debt, that debt is now yours. This can become especially frustrating when you are filing for divorce and you find out that his debt is still your debt. For any questions on divorce and debt division in Georgia, call the Ward Law Firm today.
What If I Didn't Contribute to the Debt at All?
Unfortunately, even if you did not spend a dime, the debt is still yours. If there is a loan in your spouse’s name, as long as he applied for the loan during your marriage, you are responsible for part of the debt.
How Do I Know What Debt Is Mine?
Under Georgia’s equitable division laws, you and your spouse must divide all of your marital assets (and debts) fairly. Remember that this does not mean 50/50; you will not automatically receive 50 percent of your spouse’s debt and he will not automatically receive 50 percent of yours.
First, you will only receive your share of anything your spouse acquired after your wedding day; if your spouse came into the marriage with $50,000 in student loans, that is solely his debt. However, if your spouse went back to school during your marriage and racked up $50,000 in debt, you will likely receive part of it.
Can I Decide How Much I Receive?
If you and your spouse are able to come to a fair agreement on who receives what, you may end up receiving none of your spouse’s debt, but that means you may have to give up something else. For example, to get out of receiving your share of your husband’s student loan debt, you may have to give up your share of his pension fund.
If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on who receives what, a judge from the Gwinnett County Magistrate Court will decide. The judge may consider many factors, such as which spouse makes more, who created most of the debt, whether the debt was for the benefit of the marriage or family, and the marital contributions of both parties.
For example, if your spouse created $40,000 in debt and you created $10,000, the judge may award your spouse more of the debt. However, if you make twice as much as your spouse, the judge may award a higher share to you.
Does the Debt Affect Any Other Part of My Divorce?
Your (or your spouse’s) debt can affect more than just property division. For example, before awarding alimony, a judge will consider many factors, including the debts of each party. In some cases, a judge will require one spouse to pay off the debts of the other as alimony; in other cases, a judge will forgo ordering alimony if the paying spouse would incur more debt paying alimony.
Your debts will not affect other payments such as child support as the court orders these payments for the best interests of a child, regardless of
Get Help With Debt Division in Gwinnett County
Divorce can be frustrating enough without finding out that you may be stuck with your spouse’s debt. For help with asset and debt division in Gwinnett County, call the property division attorneys at Ward Law Firm.
Contact us today to set up your REAL Case Analysis: 770-383-1973.