10 Apr Divorce: Dividing Debt and Property
One of the first questions asked when a couple is facing divorce is how debt and property will be divided. At Bloom Law Office, divorce attorneys specialize in pursuing fair divisions regardless of the amount of debt or value of property. In most cases, a married couple has community property and separate property. Community property is defined as earnings during the marriage as well as whatever was acquired with those earnings. The debts during this time period are community, too—except in some instances when a creditor made special efforts to keep debts separate.
What Is Separate Property
Separate property may be defined as earnings and items of value acquired by one of the spouses prior to marriage. It also includes any inheritances or gifts given to just one spouse during the span of a marriage. It also includes pensions and profits stemming from those inheritances or gifts. In some cases, one spouse may have purchased “separate property” from their separate fund, which can help keep it “separate.”
If a couple purchases property with a blend of community and separate funds, it often remains part community and part separate. As you can see, things can quickly get confusing. Who gets the house?
It depends. If there are children, it’s common that the parent who spends the most time with them stays in the house. However, if children aren’t involved, and both spouses own the house, things can get challenging. Neither can demand the other to leave. If the spouses can’t come up with an agreement, the court will intervene.
It’s very important to follow legal protocols until debt and property divisions are finalized. It’s unfortunately common at the time for one spouse to lash out and change the locks or otherwise refuse to let their “soon to be ex” enter the home. This can lead to calls to the police and even restraining orders. False claims can be made by one spouse in order to try to gain leverage. Having a divorce attorney working for you can drastically reduce the odds of a messy divorce and expedite the debt/property division.
West New York Divorce Attorney Jeffery M. Bloom
In New Jersey, courts divide both debts and assets into either community or equitable distribution. Equitable distribution means all earnings and assets accumulated during marriage are fairly divided, though not necessarily equally. The judge has a lot of say in the ultimate division if a couple doesn’t come up with their own agreement. Help ensure your fairest division by calling Bloom Law Office at 855-208-3650.