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Marital Debt - Are you responsible for your spouse’s debt in a divorce?

Posted by Michael Lambert | Feb 13, 2024 | 0 Comments

Financing and borrowing money are a way of life for most couples in America.  We rely on financing options and credit cards to purchase items that are vital to our daily lives.  For example, many couples take advantage of favorable financing deals when purchasing a car.  An automobile is a necessity for most couples as it provides transportation to work, the grocery store, or to your children's extracurricular activities.  Credit cards are practically a requirement in today's system of commerce for purchasing clothing, groceries, gas, etc.   As a result, most couples accumulate marital debt and in Massachusetts that debt needs to be allocated equitably between the parties at the time of divorce.

In Massachusetts, the judge has discretion to assign marital debt to either or both parties in proportions that the judge believes are fair and equitable.  That means that you could be responsible for paying debt that was acquired by your spouse.  In general, if the debt was incurred for reasonable living expenses then it would seem fair that both parties share the debt.  Conversely, if debt was incurred because of reckless or foolish spending on items that did not contribute to the marriage then that debt may be assigned to the offending party.  However, each situation is decided on a case by case basis and the judge will likely consider the nature of the marital debt, when it was accrued, and the economic standing of the parties.  In Massachusetts there are no bright-line rules for marital debt and the allocation of debt is at the discretion of the judge.   Thus, it is important that you understand the nuanced intricacies of assigning debt as you may not be responsible for any or a portion of the debt that exists at the time of divorce.

If you have questions about your divorce case there is no obligation or cost to call Lambert Legal at 781-754-6822, we look forward to speaking with you about your case.

About the Author

Michael Lambert

About Attorney Lambert Attorney Lambert is an experienced Massachusetts courtroom litigator and competent negotiator. Having logged significant time in the courtroom Attorney Lambert is a poised and confident advocate. Outside of court he has built a successful track record of negotiating favo...


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