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Dividing Debt in Divorce: Do I Have to Pay for My Husband’s Affairs?

Many people live beyond their means. And, that’s not difficult to do in New Jersey where, while you often get what you pay for, you most certainly have to pay a lot for it in the Garden State. So, it stands to reason that when a married couple decides to go their separate ways, there is usually plenty of debt to divide.

NJ divorce laws requires both assets and debt to be “equitably distributed” in the event of a divorce. However, it’s important to understand that, in this case, “equitable” does not mean “equal.” The law takes several things into consideration when it comes to dividing joint debt such as car loans, credit card bills, college loans, other lines of credit and even mortgages.

Common Sense Usually Prevails When the Debt Has Been Racked Up by Extramarital Affairs

With a savvy lawyer on your side, it can often be proven that money spent on paramours isn’t “marital debt.”

It’s not unusual for mounting debt and other financial struggles to be the impetus for divorce. If you’ve been arguing about money for what seems like forever, it’s probable that figuring out how to divide the debt you’ve accumulated now — while you are on opposite sides of the divorce table — will seem impossible.

That’s where a savvy divorce lawyer with considerable experience representing clients with both significant assets and debts can come in very handy. You need to choose an attorney who will not only fight for your rights and to protect your legal interests, but who stays ahead of the curve when it comes to the ever-changing divorce laws in NJ.

Who Is Responsible for the Debt?

That’s really the issue at hand that must be reviewed so equitable debt distribution can be completed. Generally speaking, any debt incurred during the marriage is considered “marital debt” and should be split based on a number of concerns such as each spouse’s income, ability to earn a living, living expenses, etc.

Here are some sticking points when dividing debt at the divorce table:

  1. If one person has a gambling or shopping problem, debts accumulated need to be divided based on those concerns
  2. If bills were amassed because of affairs or other “extracurricular activities,” the other spouse shouldn’t have to pay those debts
  3. If your ex is contending that you spent the money so you should be responsible for the debt, but you say the money was spent on the children or marital home. In this case, you may have technically “signed” for the debt, but the entire family benefited from it. (This could be a family vacation or even simply weekly food bills.)

If you are seeking a divorce, don’t go it alone — especially when it comes to dividing debt and assets. There are far too many loopholes that can come back to haunt you if you aren’t careful. A knowledgeable divorce attorney can fight to make sure you don’t have to assume debt you didn’t create as well as making sure debts relating to “customary family expenses” are dividing equitably.

Contact Ron Graziano of divorce law firm Graziano & Flynn, P.C. in Cherry Hill today for a consultation about your personal situation. No two cases are alike. Don’t listen to friends and family. Get the facts and make sure you have a seasoned divorce lawyer on your side of the negotiation table. The decision you make today will be in place for a long time to come.

Client Reviews
Attorney Graziano is one of the brightest and most compassionate professionals which anyone could work with! He is a great advocate and is extremely knowledgable of the judicial system. He made a very unpleasant legal situation a pleasant journey, and he helped keep things in perspective and in a positive light. I fully recommend him without reservation! Danielle
Robyn made the divorce process bearable by making sure I was ok every step of the way. She was a fighter when she needed to be and compassionate the rest of the time. The thing I liked best about her is that she was encouraging when I needed to get my end of the work done. She was reasonably priced and worked hard to get my case settled. I have since recommended her to 3 other friends who have retained her services. Ana Z.
It seemed like my case took forever but I trusted Ron Graziano and listened to what he had to say. Mr Graziano said that the insurance company was not being fair and that we should go to trial. The trial was very nerve racking however he eased my mind and killed them with proof and knowledge. My outcome of my trial brought me to tears of joy. I could never imagine such a good outcome. Listen to him, have faith and you too will be impressed. Robin
After a divorce, my ex-husband was not keeping up with his scheduled child support payments. With the help and knowledge of Robyn Flynn, I was able to resolve this issue. Being a single mother of three children, Robyn Flynn made me a priority. I felt respected by her always keeping me informed and encouraged. She was not only my lawyer, but a friend during a very stressful time in my life. I would never use another attorney other than Robyn Flynn and highly recommend her to my friends as a trustworthy, professional and experienced lawyer. Anna H.
Ron is an extremely trustworthy lawyer. Listen to what he says and have faith in him, you will be as impressed as I am! I couldn't have dreamed of a better outcome in my case. I wouldn't have wanted anyone else to represent me, I highly recommend him to anyone looking for an amazing lawyer!!
His staff is amazing as well!!
Robyn is an excellent litigator and educated/guided me throughout my divorce. She is incredibly gifted in managing your case and fighting for you with opposing consul. Through the dark days she kept me going and helped me get the results me and my children deserved. Chris K.

(Results may vary depending upon your particular facts and legal circumstances.)