Considering debt during a military divorce

For Florida residents who are facing the end of a marriage, understanding the full implications of that process is important. Military divorce will shape the financial lives of both parties for many years to come. In terms of property division, spouses need to know that debt will be divided in much the same way as marital assets.

In most cases, debt that is brought into the marriage remains the obligation of that individual in the event of a divorce. However, debt that is acquired during the marriage is a different matter. Both spouses are usually held accountable for debt brought on after the vows have been exchanged.

Consider, for example, a couple in which the wife serves in the military while her husband handles household obligations and child care duties. The husband tries to get multiple home-based businesses off the ground, with little success. Over the years, he accumulates a significant level of credit card debt.

If a couple divorces, the wife could find herself on the hook for half of her husband's accumulated debt. That can be frustrating and certainly seems unfair. However, without proper planning, that outcome can be a reality.

For those in Florida who believe that a military divorce may be in their future, it's important to learn more about the role that debt plays in the divorce process. Being informed can help spouses make wise decisions. Some will benefit by aggressively paying down debt prior to filing for divorce, while others may want to consider different options. The best way to chart a course of action is to meet with a family law attorney who specializes in military divorce, and discuss the full range of financial and other divorce issues.

Source:, "You Could Get Stuck With Your Spouse's Debt in Divorce", Christy Bieber, Nov. 16, 2017

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