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How Are Marital Debts Divided in a Wisconsin Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce/Family Law

Ozaukee County divorce attorney division of marital debt

Divorce can be challenging not only emotionally, but also financially, as couples will need to work to determine how their shared property will be distributed between the two spouses. You may go into your divorce understanding that you will need to divide your marital assets, but it is important to remember that you will also be expected to divide your debts and to prepare yourself for the impact on your personal finances. In Wisconsin, with few exceptions, assets obtained and debts incurred by either spouse during the marriage are considered shared marital property to be divided equally in a divorce. 

Loans Need to Be Paid Off Regardless of Marital Status

It is not uncommon for couples to acquire a lot of property during their marriage. Likewise, they can also rack up a lot of debt due to loans for education, vacation homes, vehicles, furniture, appliances, and even electronic devices such as phones and computers. Some common marital debts that can factor into your divorce settlement or resolution include:

  • Mortgages: If you and your spouse own a home with an outstanding mortgage, the remaining debt will likely be divided between the two of you. The same can apply for a home equity loan or line of credit, or mortgages on additional real estate properties. Depending on the personal situation between you and your spouse, this can lead to a difficult decision as to whether you should sell the family home or one of you should keep it after the divorce.

  • Auto loans: If you or your spouse purchased a car or other types of vehicles on credit during your marriage, this can also be a significant source of shared marital debt. Even if one of you has less debt remaining on your vehicle, the total debts may still be divided evenly given that a car purchase is often considered an acquisition in the interest of the marriage.

  • Student loans: Either spouse taking out a loan to further his or her education during the marriage can also be considered marital debt since advanced degrees can lead to higher earning potential that benefits the marriage. As with auto loans, student loan debt will often be divided equally even if only one spouse took out a loan.

  • Credit card debt: Debt accumulated through major and minor credit card purchases throughout the marriage will also be divided at the time of the divorce. This can be a topic of contention between divorcing spouses, because unlike many big purchases like a home or vehicle, couples may not discuss every single credit card purchase beforehand. However, without a well-supported argument that a purchase was not made in the interest of the marriage, the credit card debt will likely still be distributed equally.

It is important to note that individual debts incurred by each spouse before the marriage are generally not considered in the equal distribution upon divorce, nor are debts related to child or spousal support from a previous marriage or torts against one spouse resulting from a civil lawsuit.

Contact a Milwaukee County Divorce Lawyer 

One of the most important aspects of a divorce is the division of assets and property, but debts also may need to be distributed. At Bucher Law Group, LLC, we understand that the end of your marriage can take its toll financially, causing added stress upon an already difficult time. We will help you navigate your divorce in a way that leaves you in a position of financial stability. Call us today at 262-303-4916 to schedule a free consultation with a Waukesha County divorce attorney who can assist you with obtaining a fair division of assets and debts and help you prepare for a secure financial future.






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