How debt is handled in divorce

Milwaukee Wisconsin Divorce Attorneys Handling Debt

The division of debt is often a hotly contested issue in a divorce

During a divorce, every part of a married couple’s life must be divided, from time with the children to the marital home and vehicles. The debts the couple has accrued must also be divided in a divorce. These debts may include student loan debt, credit card debt, medical debt, and other obligations. At Bandle & Zaeske, LLP, our Wisconsin divorce attorneys are experienced in debt division matters and ensure your interests are protected so there are no unpleasant surprises at the conclusion of your divorce.

The process of debt division in Wisconsin

According to Wisconsin law, all debts incurred by a spouse during the marriage are presumed to be marital debts, or those that support the marriage or family unit. Typically, it does not matter which spouse incurred the debt. However, a spouse may present evidence to rebut the presumption that a debt was marital. If the debt is marital, both spouses may be equally responsible for it. There are specific categories of debts that will remain the obligation of the spouse that incurred them, obligations involving torts committed during the marriage, or child support or spousal support from prior marriages or relationships.

Before dividing debts in a Wisconsin divorce, the debts must first be identified. The parties must submit documentation that lays out pertinent details about each debt, such as the date it was incurred, the amount of the debt, and the outstanding balance. If one spouse suspects that the other is hiding debts, a forensic accountant or private investigator may be hired. In some cases, spouses have been ordered to pay debts even though they had no idea the debts existed. Thus, it is important to have a competent divorce attorney to assist with these complex matters.

Wisconsin is a marital property state

Wisconsin is a marital property state, which means that family court judges will aim to divide property equally between spouses. Marital property includes all assets and debts acquired during a marriage. Therefore, judges will issue property division rulings that provide each spouse nets roughly half of the marital estate.

When determining property division matters in a divorce, judges consider the following factors:

  • How long the parties were married
  • The property the parties brought into the marriage
  • Whether a party has property that is not subject to division (for example, property that was inherited or gifted)
  • The ages and health of the parties
  • Each party’s contributions to the marriage
  • Each party’s earning capacity
  • Other factors the court deems relevant

Each marriage is unique, and therefore each debt division ruling is unique as well, depending on the specific characteristics of the marital relationship.

Contact our skilled Milwaukee Wisconsin divorce attorneys today for a free evaluation of your case

Are you concerned about dividing debts with your spouse? Are you worried that your spouse may have debts you do not even know about? Contact the savvy Wisconsin divorce attorneys at Bandle & Zaeske today for a free consultation. To schedule your free consultation, call 414-359-1424 or contact us online.

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