Marital Division of Debt
Under Arizona law, both the assets and the debts accumulated during marriage are considered community property and must be divided equally. Debt division is just as contentious as asset division because no one wants to come out at a loss. Both parties can still be held legally and financially responsible for marital debt years after divorce. If there is any question as to who is responsible for one or more marital debts, it is vitally important that your divorce attorney is experienced in dividing marital debt in Arizona.
Scottsdale Debt Division Lawyer
The Daly Law Firm assists clients with all parts of the divorce process. It can be difficult to divide debt because one party may have incurred the debt, but both people are responsible. After divorce, people want to be free from marital debt. It is important to get a knowledgeable attorney to help you divide your marital debt equitably. Contact Doug Daly at (480) 607-8308 for a free consultation regarding your particular marital property situation.
What is considered community debt in Arizona?
Debts incurred during the marriage are presumed to be community property. The term "during the marriage" is defined as from the date of the marriage license until the date a divorce decree is signed. Each party is also responsible for their own debts incurred after a party has been served with a Petition for Dissolution and Preliminary Injunction. This presumption can be overcome by demonstrating that the debt was not incurred for the benefit of the community.
Documents to Aid in Debt Division
Courts want documentation and evidence to determine marital assets and debts. Sometimes couples do not keep accurate records. Definitely 3rd party credit bureaus can shed light on debt. If you are planning a divorce it would be a good idea to collect the following items:
- Tax returns
- Mortgage papers
- Investment portfolios
- Bank account records
- Credit card statements
- Business records
- Titles or deeds of ownership
What happens if I don’t have documentation of my debt?
If there is no financial documentation, forensic accounts and Certified Public Accountants can investigate your finances and get an accurate account of debts and assets. It is vital to know the amount of community property, separate property and debts so the court can make an accurate ruling on the property division.
Debt Division Agreements
With an Arizona family lawyer by your side, you can come to a debt division agreement. If you are thinking about divorce, it might be a good idea to start paying off debts so you don’t have to deal with them in the divorce settlement. However if you have outstanding debts at divorce, a family lawyer can help you come to an agreement. In the agreement one party will:
- Agree to take responsibility for the debts in exchange for receiving more assets from the marital property division. (Ex. I get the house, the 2 cars and the lake house and I will pay all the credit card bills)
- Agree to let your spouse take responsibility for the debts in exchange for receiving more assets from the division of property. (Ex: You keep the boat, the house with the mortgage payment and all of our student loan debt and I will only take the car.)
- Agree to share equal responsibility of the debts. This is a tricky situation because both of you are liable and if your ex-spouse does not pay on the debt, you are still on the hook. You can go back to court to try to enforce the ruling, but creditors can legally hold you responsible and it will affect your credit if you do not pay back the debt.
You need an attorney to help you work out a debt division settlement. There are legal consequences that can affect you for a long time after your divorce is finalized. Make sure that you make an agreement that will put you in a fair position after the divorce.
Daly Law Firm | Phoenix Marital Debt Divison Lawyer
If you are going through a divorce with a large amount of marital debt in dispute it is essential to get help from an experienced Scottsdale divorce attorney. It's important to have an attorney by your side to advocate for your rights in the marital property division of your divorce case. If you are contemplating a divorce in the Phoenix, Scottsdale, or the Maricopa County area, don’t hesitate to call The Daly Firm at (480) 607-8308 for a free consultation to answer your questions and concerns about marital debt division.