Property division is a major part of most Michigan divorces, but sometimes people forget that dividing debt is also part of property division.
Michigan law states that marital property is divided equitably, or fairly, between both spouses. The same goes for marital debts.
An equitable debt division does not necessarily mean that the debt will be split evenly, although that is generally the idea.
However, there are some situations where a judge can choose to divided debt unevenly between spouses.
This can happen if one spouse is better able to pay certain debts or is awarded an asset with a debt attached to it. For example, if you are awarded the house, you are likely going to take on the mortgage debt.
Defining Marital Debt
It does not usually matter whose name the debt is in. If the debt was incurred during the marriage, it is marital debt and subject to division.
Your and your spouse might have several credit cards with debt balances that both of you accumulated, but the cards could be in your spouse’s name.
That doesn’t matter. The debt is marital debt and must still be split equitably.
When Debt May Be Unequally Divided
The exception to this general rule is if evidence is shown that one spouse was responsible for the debt, without the knowledge of the other spouse.
In the above credit card example, if your spouse used the credit cards without your knowledge and charged up high balances, a judge could order that your spouse is responsible for all the debt.
We Are On Your Side
Property division is often one of the most stressful and complicated parts of the divorce process, because many people worry about losing their financial stability with a divorce.
Therefore, it is important work with an experienced divorce attorney who can advocate for property and debt division that is in your best interests. You should be able to leave your marriage confident that you will have a secure financial future.