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Can Florida divorce set you free from a spouse's debt?

Money is a common reason that couples find themselves headed toward divorce court. Far too few couples take the time to really determine if they have financial compatibility. This can lead to financial issues and surprises later in marriage. If one spouse has a spending issue, for example, it can place a lot of strain on a marriage.

When two spouses have different ideas about important life decisions, such as how to handle them and how much money to save, it can quickly cause problems in a marriage. If your spouse has trouble holding onto money, you may feel like it's time to start fresh.

However, it is reasonable to worry about how the courts will view any debts incurred by your spouse. Will you end up paying for their huge credit card bill? It will depend on the circumstances, including whose name was on the account and when they incurred the debt.

Florida uses an equitable distribution approach to marital assets and debts

Every state has its own unique approach to handling divorce. In Florida, the guiding principle for asset division in a divorce is called equitable distribution. This principle involves allocating assets and debts in a manner that is fair to both parties.

Typically, the courts will look at the contributions of each spouse, the length of the marriage and many other factors. When it comes to debts, the name of the person who incurred the debt is often important. Not all debts incurred during the marriage are subject to division. This is particularly true if one spouse was wasting money on an affair or otherwise committing an act of financial infidelity.

Can financial infidelity impact a divorce?

Sometimes, couples experience financial infidelity. That is the term that describes when one spouse actively hides spending habits or debt from the other spouse. It also refers to any other kind of financial obfuscation, including hiding assets in order to prevent a spouse from accessing them.

Both of these situations are examples of someone manipulating another person by withholding information intentionally. If your spouse hides assets acquired during your marriage, the courts may penalize them for that. Similarly, if your spouse failed to disclose debts during your marriage or otherwise spend money recklessly without your knowledge or permission, that could also have a bearing on the outcome of your divorce.

Every marriage is unique, so it's important to understand that the details of your marriage are what will guide the outcome of the asset division process. A careful review of your financial documents, as well as a consultation with a professional, can help you understand likely outcomes in your case.

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