As we have discussed multiple times on this blog, divorce can have much more than just an emotional toll. In fact, it may be the biggest financial transaction of an individual’s life. While the focus of property division is usually on determining marital assets and divvying them up in a way that is fair, Floridians considering marriage dissolution shouldn’t overlook the fact that they will also need to deal with marital debts.

These debts can take many forms. Mortgages, auto loans, and credit card debt may all be subjected to division during divorce, which means that those who fail to adequately argue their position may wind up saddled with debt they never expected to be responsible for. But, how does an individual know which debts might be a part of this process?

A good starting point is pulling a credit report. Doing so should give an individual an idea of the current debts they are responsible for, either separately or with their spouse. It is important to note that Florida law defines marital liabilities as any liabilities acquired during the course of marriage, whether individually or jointly. So, even individually held credit card debt may be subject to division during divorce.

The court is tasked with ensuring that property division is equitable. Therefore, these debts won’t necessarily be divided equally. A spouse who runs up credit card debt without the other spouse’s knowledge may end up retaining a large share of that debt or losing a portion of marital property to make the matter fair. This doesn’t happen automatically, of course, which is why Floridians who are contemplating marriage dissolution should consider protecting themselves as fully as possible by acquiring the assistance of a skilled divorce attorney.