Law Office of Steven R. Brenners

If I Relinquish A Home In A Divorce, Do I Still Have To Pay The Mortgage?

Just because you relinquish a home in a divorce does not necessarily mean that you’ve given up every right to that property. Instead, this will be decided on a case-by-case basis. The court can address that situation in many ways. For example, if you leave the marital residence and you had been the person who was customarily paying the mortgage payments on it, then the court’s going to look to you to continue the payments and maintain the status quo. If both parties in a marriage were contributing to the payments, then the court will probably look to you to continue your contributions and maintain the status quo as best as possible. There is some case law out there that says if one party leaves, the divorce is filed and the other party is making the payments, then they can ask the court to be credited in the amount that they’ve reduced the principle balance on the loan. It usually makes up a pretty small percentage of the mortgage payment, but it can add up after a while. So, if your mortgage payment is $2,000 a month, part of that is going toward taxes, part is going toward insurance, part of it is going toward interest, and a very small part of it’s actually reducing the principle. Reducing the principle balance will lower the outstanding balance of the mortgage loan. If you’re making that payment individually without assistance from your spouse, then you can ask the court to credit you for that principle reduction.

How Is Division Of a Debt Handled In A Divorce?

Generally, if the debt is incurred for marital purposes, it’ll be looked upon as a marital debt. Most debts that you would incur during the marriage would probably be considered marital. However, if one spouse incurs debt for non-marital purposes, such as taking a new love interest out for dinner, then that’s probably not going to be a marital debt. If one spouse incurs debt on gambling, drugs or prostitutes, then that’s also probably not going to be considered a marital debt. But generally, the rest of the debt would be considered marital, even if it’s only for the benefit of one spouse. For example, if one spouse really liked to go boating and spent an awful lot of money on that boating hobby, then any associated debt is probably going to be considered marital debt. The reason is because a hobby such as boating is nothing that falls outside of the marriage.

We first have to establish if the debt is marital or non-marital. Most debts incurred during the marriage are considered marital. The court has different ways to divide the debt depending on the equities or the fairness of the case. If both spouses are working, then the court may decide to divide the debt proportionally. If one spouse is earning $100,000 a year and the other spouse is earning $50,000 a year, then the court may very well assign the debt two-thirds to the spouse making $100,000 and one-third to the spouse making $50,000. That may be a fair way to divide the debt. Each case gets looked at individually, and the court will try to do the fair thing. That’s why Florida is considered an equitable distribution state and not an equal distribution state.

How Does Medical School Debt Accumulated Prior To Or After Marriage Get Divided In A Divorce?

If the medical school debt was incurred prior to the marriage, then it would be a non-marital debt. If the medical school debt was incurred during the marriage, it would certainly be a marital debt. Then the only question becomes how much would you-as the spouse that doesn’t really have the money-be responsible for? Fairness may indicate that if you are a stay-at-home spouse raising the children while your husband is out earning substantial income as a doctor, then the court should order him to pay all or a vast majority of that debt. This is because you would not have the income to pay even a proportion of that debt. Theoretically, if you are awarded a huge amount of alimony and the spouse who is the doctor doesn’t really have the money to pay all the debt, then you may be stuck with a portion of it.

If debt was incurred during the marriage, it will be marital. If it was incurred prior to the marriage, it will be non-marital. If it’s incurred during the marriage, then the court’s going to look to see what’s fair and how much each spouse is earning. The court will probably assign percentages based on the incomes at the time.

For more information on Mortgage Issues After Divorce, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (954) 755-0126 today.

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