Just as with assets in a marriage, marital debt may also be up for division in the event of a divorce. However, it’s important to consider what kind of debt is considered marital debt, and what is individual debt.
Typically, a court will consider all the debt that you have accumulated before the marriage, as premarital debt or individual debt. This kind of debt is not up for division. That can also include student loans, mortgages, credit card debt and other types of loans. It can also include medical bills that you have accumulated before the marriage.
Any loans that you incur jointly with your spouse or individually during the time that you’re married to each other are considered marital debt. That can include mortgages, credit card debt and other types of loans.
Student loans can be tricky to divide. Some courts go with the assumption that any student loans that were taken by the person before he or she got married is the person’s individual debt, and should not be shared by the other person in the marriage. However, other courts in Colorado may use the logic that since the person’s student loans will benefit the ex-spouse in the form of higher alimony and child support payments because of the increased income potential, the loan must be divided between the spouses equally.
Not all credit card debt that you incur may be considered joint marital debt. Speak to a divorce lawyer if you recently asked for a financial statement from your spouse, and have found thousands of dollars worth of debt that you did not incur on your own. Merely not incurring debt on your own during the marriage may not qualify as exemption from these marital debt laws. But, if much of your spouse’s credit card debt was spent on fancy vacations or lavish purchases for an adulterous affair, the court may decide that the debt is not yours to share.