The sad reality in today’s economic environment is that divorcing spouses are increasingly more concerned about dividing debts rather than assets. Under Florida law, both assets and liabilities must be divided equitably – which does not necessarily mean that you will split them equally, but that the court will endeavor to split them fairly so that one spouse does not suffer more financial harm following the divorce.
During your marriage, if you have opened credit card accounts in both your names, or added your spouse to what was previously an individual account, then you are still both liable for the debt. In this case, the court will usually split the debt as equitably as possible – perhaps assigning different accounts to each spouse, as long as the total is fairly equal.
However, what most people do not realize is that a court order does not supersede the right of a creditor to pursue a judgment against both parties if the one responsible for paying the debt as the result of a divorce defaults. The fact is that both spouses are still liable for the debt. In the case where one spouse cannot pay, a creditor has the right to pursue the other spouse for the debt.
Usually, the only way to discharge the debt if you cannot pay is to file bankruptcy. But if only one spouse files, the creditor can still pursue the other for the debt. In that case, it may be financially prudent for both spouses to file bankruptcy in order to discharge all marital debt they are unable to pay.
If you have questions regarding marital debt, contact a Jacksonville divorce attorney.