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Don’t Let Debt Ruin Your Marriage


Money can’t buy love, but if divorce statistics are any indication, it is perfectly capable of ruining it.  Couples take vows to stay together for richer or for poorer, but ongoing financial stress can bring out the worst in everyone.  Sometimes couples blame each other for their financial problems; you think that everything would have been fine if your spouse had reentered the workforce when your youngest child went to kindergarten, and your spouse has never forgiven you for taking out a home equity loan to invest in a business that never became profitable.  If your spouse has already filed for divorce, you cannot unilaterally stop the divorce from happening, so the best thing you can do is reach a fair settlement about how to divide your marital debts.  If you and your spouse are determined to make your marriage work despite your financial hardships, a postnuptial agreement can help you resolve your conflicts about finances and debt.  A Boca Raton prenuptial and postnuptial agreement lawyer can help you prevent divorce by reaching a legally binding agreement about your marital debts.

A Postnuptial Agreement Can Protect Your Spouse From Your Debt

Signing a prenuptial agreement is not a predictor of divorce; in some cases, it is an effective form of estate planning for couples who had already lived long enough to accumulate substantial assets and debts by the time they married.  Sometimes circumstances may change during your marriage that you could not have foreseen when you got married.  A postnup can help prevent your financial situation from causing conflict.  For example, if your spouse takes out a Parent PLUS loan to pay for the college tuition of her children from a previous marriage, you can sign a postnuptial agreement in which you formally agree that the loan is your spouse’s separate debt.  If one spouse creates a testamentary trust with the other as a beneficiary, the beneficiary spouse can sign a postnup waving her right to an elective share of the grantor spouse’s estate; this can prevent conflict with stepchildren.

How Debt Affects Your Divorce

Only the most frugal couples are debt free; most couples, regardless of income level, have some outstanding debts.  The court does not usually assign fault for the debt to one spouse; under Florida’s equitable distribution laws, judges may divide marital debt in whatever way seems fairest, given the couple’s unique circumstances.  Therefore, the judge may assign the car loan to the spouse that drives the car or to the spouse who is best able to make the payments.

Dividing Your Marital Debt in Divorce Mediation

Statistically speaking, it is unlikely that a judge will decide how to divide your marital debts.  This is because most couples are able to resolve their property division issues, including division of marital debts, during mediation.

Contact Schwartz | White About Marital Debt and Divorce

A South Florida family law attorney can help you divide your marital debt in a way that does not leave you with an unfair burden.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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