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It is wise to have a plan for addressing debt during divorce

Most Florida residents know that a big part of the end of a marriage involves dividing marital assets. However, fewer people think about the role that debt will play in a divorce. Debt is also subject to division when a couple separates, and taking a proactive approach to dividing debt can help a couple save a great deal of time, money and stress.

During the course of a divorce, each spouse will need to communicate with his or her attorney. A significant portion of those communications will revolve around gathering information on assets, income and debts held by the family. Once that information has been gathered, a plan for dividing those assets and obligations is constructed. For couples who have significant debts and are in agreement on which party should be held responsible for which accounts, it may be possible to eliminate those discussions from the divorce process by handling the accounts before the paperwork is filed.

For example, a couple comprised of two spouses who both have student loan balances could agree that each party will take responsibility for his or her own loans after a divorce. A similar agreement might be made concerning store credit cards, such as a plan in which the wife might assume full responsibility for her department store accounts, while the husband agrees to take responsibility for his accounts at two different retailers. The couple can take the steps needed to move those accounts into their own names or to consolidate the debts into a new account. That same couple can agree that a home improvement account used to complete projects around the house should be divided evenly.

By handling these matters in advance of filing for divorce, a couple can effectively removed those discussions from the divorce process. This proactive approach means no legal fees for addressing the debt issue and no need to include the topic in negotiations. This approach is a great option for couples who are in agreement on which debts should be taken on by each party. It also gives Florida couples the chance to turn their focus toward other property division topics during the course of their divorce and to work toward a settlement that meets the needs of all involved.

Source:, "7 ways to protect yourself financially in a divorce", Andrew Housser, July 18, 2016

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