By Alexandra Mulé
If you find yourself in a position prior to your divorce wondering what will happen to the debt my spouse and I incurred throughout our marriage, this post may be familiarize your understanding. When you get divorced, the Court will divide your assets if you and your spouse can not come to an agreement of how they will be divided yourselves. The Court will decide the equitable portion of marital assets each spouse receives. It is important to keep in mind that equitable does not always mean equal. The Court must also assign each spouse an equitable portion of the marital debt they will be responsible for. Marital debts include any liability incurred by a spouse during the marriage and used for the benefit of the marriage.
In Curran v. Curran, 192 A.D.3d 985 (2d Dept. 2021), the Second Department held that “while outstanding financial obligations incurred during the marriage which are not solely the responsibility of the spouse who incurred them may be offset against the total marital assets to be divided,” “there must be an offer of proof that the debts constitute marital expenses.” Additionally, the Second Department held in Barra v. Barra, 191 A.D.3d 831 (2d Dept. 2021), “the burden of repaying marital debt should be equally shared by the parties, in the absence of countervailing factors, and any such liability should be distributed in accordance with general equitable distribution principles and factors”.