How Is Debt Divided in a Divorce in New York?

One issue that people don’t think much about when seeking a divorce is debt. In New York, a system called equitable distribution is used to divvy up marital property, including debts.

What Is Equitable Distribution?

In a marriage, there is more than one type of debt. There is separate debt, which is debt that a spouse acquired prior to the marriage. There is also marital debt, which is debt that spouses acquired as a couple. Equitable distribution allows the court to divide a couple’s marital debt between them in the fairest way possible.

Since New York is an equitable distribution state, when a couple gets divorced the court must divide their marital property between them fairly. This does not necessarily mean that the property is divided equally. The court determines how to fairly distribute marital property after considering factors including but not limited to the following:

  • Length of marriage
  • Each spouse’s income, age, and health
  • Spousal support
  • Future financial outlook of each spouse
  • Whether either spouse has wastefully spent marital assets

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