In Georgia, Debts during Divorce as well as Assets are to be divided equally
Like assets in a marriage in Georgia, debts are also to be divided into equity. This means that the court will do what is considered fair when it comes to the division of debt and assets. Many clients come to our office and assume that they do not have to pay any debts from the marriage as all of the credit cards were in the other spouse’s name and they never really used them. Inequity the relevant question is did you benefit from the expense, and this line is very blurry.s
Be Prepared To Present The Short Version
The courts will rarely take the time and nor is it a productive argument to take years of debt statements and itemize every single purchase arguing who bought this item and who used that item. Yes, you did not agree with the ride-on lawnmower for your quarter-acre lawn, but it was used for the maintenance of the home. Yes, the other spouse likes to eat out all the time but can you remember when you were with them and did you eat the leftovers they brought home. Because of arguments such as this, the courts tend to not be overly analytical with debt and usually split it in equal proportions. However, I have had many cases in which the court is willing to decrease and increase these proportions.
Debts During Divorce
Often the accumulation of debt is directly related to one spouse’s benefit and the other spouse clearly received no benefit from the assumption of this debt. Medical debt and student loans are usually involved with this debt and the spouse accumulating this debt will usually be responsible for these debts. Home improvement debt will usually be left with the spouse enjoying the equity in the home and if the equity in the home is to be split this debt will be split. Often one spouse has a gambling problem or addiction that causes unreasonable charges to be made. If there are glaring and obvious charges on credit cards dealing with these issues of gambling as an example, these charges should indeed be the responsibility of the charging spouse.
Arguments Surrounding Debts During Divorce
Some arguments regarding debt are more subtle and involve the actual financial relationship of the parties. Just as with assets the court will determine the actual contribution of the spouse’s in the accumulation of the debt and if you have completely separate finances, separate accounts and the other spouse has no access to these cards you have a stronger argument, but once again, you will need to show that you never benefitted from this debt.
As always, seek qualified legal counsel in your area. If you live in the Atlanta area, consider hiring Attorney Sean R. Whitworth. He has over a decade of practicing Family Law in Marietta Georgia. Debt-like equity division can be very subtle and it is unsafe to assume that because your name is not on the debt that you will have no responsibility.