Debt and Divorce
Next to parenting time, division of property and debt are the most hotly-contested issues in divorce. In an ideal world, all families seeking divorce would be seen in the family courts debt-free. Since financial trouble is a leading cause for divorce in Utah, this is not necessarily a reality. There are several types of debt that most families incur – property, student loans, medical, and credit card debt and the Utah family courts follow the statutes on each. Utah Code Section 15-4-6.5 and Section 15-4-6.7
“While most expect the division of property and debt to be a 50/50 split, this is not necessarily what will happen,” counsels a leading Provo divorce attorney from Larsen Law Frim. The court must take several factors into account, such as the levels of eduction for both parties, size of family, division of parenting time (custody), and standard of living pre-divorce.
The division for debt for property is straightforward. The party who has possession of the property pays the debt – if you have the car or live in the home, you will pay the remaining debt. While the court can make exception, it is rare to do so.
Unless the parties have consolidated their student loans into a single loan, this debt is straightforward – each person is responsible for their own student loans. If the couple paid living expenses off of the loans, such as borrowing the maximum available, well above the cost of tuiton, fees, and supplies, they can argue that the debt should be divided, which can be tough to show.
These debts are divided and enforced by statute. If there are medical debts in collection, if the creditors are given copies of the court order, they must comply with contacting the party responsible for repayment.
Credit card debt
Typically, these debts are considered joint debts, even cards that are only in one of the party’s names. Credit cards used to pay for family and marital expenses are considered shared debt and subject to being divided.
“Debt division is often attempted at mediation. It is in the party’s best interest to work as much out as possible,” states a leading divorce lawyer in Provo, Utah from Larsen Law Firm. If you need help with representation to divide marital assets and debts fairly, please allow us to help you make sense during a stressful time.