Debt and Divorce Attorneys in Bergen County, NJ
Helping NJ Clients in Marital Debt Division Cases
Because the vast majority of Americans go into debt when paying for things like their home, a car, an education, and even various everyday household expenses, it is no surprise that many of those same people are concerned about what happens to that debt during their divorce.
While the simple answer is that all jointly-held assets, including debt, are equitably divided during a divorce, there are many important debt-related issues that may arise during your divorce’s division of assets process.
Before discussing these added considerations and issues, it is critical to mention that any time you are going through a divorce, especially when it comes to the division of marital assets, it is highly recommended that you retain the counsel of an experienced Bergen County divorce attorney to help you ensure that all assets and debts are accurately valued, and fairly divided in a manner that best takes into account your unique needs and concerns, and your financial future. At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to accurately value complex marital assets, and divide them equitably and favorably. Contact our firm to discuss your unique needs and concerns when it comes to your divorce, and the equitable distribution of assets and debt in a free and confidential consultation with our attorney team today.
Debt and Asset Division Lawyers
The first thing you need to understand when it comes to dividing debt during divorce is that any debt, like any other kind of asset, can either be considered separate or marital. Determining which debts are individually held by one spouse or the other, and which debts are jointly held is a critical step in the division of assets process.
If a debt was assumed using the names of both spouses, then this debt will most likely be considered a marital asset, and as such is subject to equitable distribution. However, there are circumstances in which a debt was incurred under a joint credit card, but the use of the joint credit card was inappropriate, or for illegal activity. In this case, that debt may be considered by a judge to be the sole responsibility of the person who incurred it.
Additionally, some debts which were assumed by a single party may also be considered marital debt. This often occurs when that debt was used to pay for marital expenses such as the upkeep of a home, food, or other services that benefited both parties of the marriage.
Determining which debts are attributed to a single person (separate property), and which debts are attributed to the marriage as a whole (marital property), is the first and possibly most important step of the marital asset division process. By having a clear understanding of each party’s assets and debts, and the marriage’s assets and debts as a whole, you can then move forward in deciding how to best equitably divide and distribute these assets and debts.
Dividing Debt During Divorce in Bergen County
When it comes to debt and divorce in New Jersey, most attorneys will recommend that you use your marital assets or funds to pay down any jointly held debt that may exist. This is because credit card companies and banks (for mortgages and other certain types of loans) are not bound by court orders.
This means that even if a family court judge makes your spouse responsible for those above-mentioned debts, the creditors of those debts are still free to hold you personally responsible for them. For example if, as a part of your division of assets agreement, your spouse is responsible for paying off debt from a jointly-held credit card, if your spouse does not make this payment the credit card company can and will ask you to pay that debt and reduce your credit rating if you do not.
For this reason, it is highly recommended that you and your spouse pay off as much jointly held debt as possible during your divorce. Our Bergen County divorce attorneys are prepared to help you find fair solutions to this issue depending upon you and your family’s unique financial situation. Assets such as homes, properties, investments, or funds from joint accounts can all be used to pay down these debts, and by working with a variety of financial consultants and experts, we can help you find the best possible solution which reflects your financial responsibilities and needs.
Contact Our Hackensack Debt Division and Divorce Attorneys Today
At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to fairly and accurately divide complex marital assets including debt during their divorce in towns across Bergen County. Our firm strongly believes that by listening closely to each of our client’s unique needs and concerns, and keeping them highly informed and involved throughout any legal process, we can better work to achieve the resolutions which best meet those needs and concerns, and ensures the stability of our client’s legal, financial, and parental futures. If you need an attorney to represent your interests in divorce, contact our firm today.