Similar to the division of assets, the division of debts is also an important factor for the court to consider in any divorce. This article goes over the general rules regarding classification and division of debts.
Just like with assets, the court has the task of classifying debts as marital or separate. The debt classification rules, like the asset classification rules, are in Virginia Code § 20-107.3(A).
Generally, separate debt is
Generally, marital debt is
However, if one party can prove that at least part of an otherwise marital debt was incurred, or that at least part of the proceeds of the debt was used, for a non-marital purpose, the court may designate the entire debt as separate, or it may designate part of the debt as marital and part as separate.
Like separate property, separate debt generally remains the debt of the party incurring the debt. The same factors utilized in asset division are also applicable for division of debt. However, one special rule is worthy of note: As part of equitable distribution of jointly owned marital property, the court may permit one party to purchase the other party’s interest in the property, provided that the buyer agrees to assume any debt secured by the property (e.g., a mortgage on the house or a loan for which the house is collateral).
Just like with marital assets, understanding how a court is likely to will deal with marital debts will help you come to a fair resolution of the matter, either by settlement or litigation. As there are many nuances to equitable distribution of debts as well as of assets, it is always wise to consult an attorney to help you apply the statutes to debts that will be considered in your divorce.
An outstanding job on my case to have custody, visitation and support decided in my home state instead of Virginia after I separated from military service.- A.E.