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Can a Debt Acquired During Marriage Affect Alimony Payments?

If you and your spouse acquire debt during your marriage, it ends up being treated similarly to an asset when you divorce. It must be split up among both spouses like anything else, but some of our clients have questions about how this debt can affect alimony payments. Much of the time, your debt acquired during the marriage is not something that is likely to be considered when the court decides which spouse gets alimony, how much those payments are, and how long these payments last. If you have our Morris County, NJ alimony and spousal support lawyers at your side, you can be sure that we will help you get the most favorable deal.

Can Debt Acquired During Marriage Affect Alimony Arrangements?

Generally, marital debt does not really affect an alimony arrangement. This is because any debt acquired during marriage is actually looked at like any other asset from a marriage and split up among the couple equitably. So when the court looks at marital debt, it is mostly just trying to figure out who should get which share of the accumulated debt.

New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that the debt and assets from a marriage are not split right down the middle in a divorce. Instead, the court does its best to split marital debt in the way that is most fair. So you could have a deal in which one spouse receives 70 percent of the debt and the other could get 30 percent of it, if that is seen as fair.

What Does the Court Look at When Making an Alimony Agreement?

When figuring out alimony, the court is usually looking at factors other than marital debt. Some important considerations include:

  • The salaries of both spouses
  • Whether or not a spouse could be self-sufficient
  • What kind of standard of living both spouses got used to during the marriage
  • How long a marriage lasted
  • Parental responsibilities

These are all likely to have far more of an effect on an alimony agreement than the amount of debt acquired during your marriage.

Can Separate Debt Influence Alimony Payments?

Sometimes someone enters a marriage with debt of their own. When you have your own credit card with a balance or a student loan, that debt is likely to stay with you after your marriage ends.

Now this could end up affecting an alimony arrangement. If you have a particularly large student loan or another debt that is determined to be your financial burden alone, that can change the court’s perception of your economic situation. If you are now on your own, paying living expenses, and dealing with debts of your own, you may end up with a more generous alimony arrangement.

Talk to Our Legal Team Today

Nothing is certain in these deliberations, but if you are ready to fight for the best possible outcome in your divorce our lawyers are ready to fight with you. Contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, L.L.C. and schedule a consultation today.