Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C.
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Dividing debt during your divorce

Colorado follows the “Equitable Distribution” theory to divide disputed marital property during a divorce. However, debt can be difficult to define and divide fairly during a divorce.

It might be easier to pick and choose who gets the coffee table, the television, even the car during a divorce than who gets the debt. No one wants to pay more than they must in this expensive and emotionally exhausting process. You may need an attorney to fight for what’s fair in your divorce.

What will not be yours?

Pre-marital debt or any non-marital debt belonging exclusively to your spouse before the marriage will most likely be their responsibility once again.

If both of you took out loans and opened accounts only in your name it does not guarantee that you will not have to pay some of your spouse’s debts. For example, if both of you benefited from the purchase or payment, some of the debt from one person can be owed by both of you. For example:

  • Shelter
  • Meals
  • Clothing
  • Gifts
  • Expenses related to your children

Student loan debt is highly debatable. Some states may argue it is non-marital because the person will benefit from that education long after the divorce is finalized. In other states, a lawyer can argue against this and claim it as a marital debt. In 2016, a Colorado case  determined that student loan debt acquired while the spouses were separated (but not yet divorced) was marital debt. this cold separate

What could be yours?

Most debt will be assigned fairly, probably according to a percentage of your income. The court, judge, or other mediator would attempt to keep debt equitable on both sides.

  • If you keep a piece of property (such as a car) you take on any debt remaining that relates to that property
  • If you go into debt to pay child or spousal support
  • If you or your spouse acquires debt while you are separated, you may still be responsible until the moment you are divorced
    • Take action to protect your credit promptly after you separate to avoid unfair charges
  • Anything else the judge, attorneys, or other mediator deems fair

Be sure to pay only your fair share in the divorce. Protect your assets and follow any rulings ordered by a judge during your divorce settlement.

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