Splitting up your property can be a big source of arguments in the early stages of a North Dakota divorce. Many couples get so fixated on the division of their belongings that they don’t stop to think about their debts.
Failing to consider your debt can be a major strategic oversight, as debts often have a significant impact on how the courts decide to divide the property of a couple. Looking at the kind of debt you have carefully can give you an idea of how much debt you might have to deal with after the divorce.
The courts will likely split up marital debts
North Dakota applies the equitable distribution standard to property, which includes debts acquired during the marriage. Individual debts from before the marriage may remain the separate property of one spouse, but credit card balances and even student loans from during the marriage could get split between the divorcing spouses.
It’s important to understand that the name on the account will not be the most important consideration for the court when they determine if a debt is marital or separate property. Instead, they will look at the date that you incurred the debt and its purpose.
Student loans taken out by someone hoping to contribute to the household income will likely be marital debt, while a credit card balance accrued during an affair or to set yourself up because you intend to leave your spouse could become a separate debt for which only one person has responsibility. Carefully reviewing your household financial situation can give you a better idea of how much of your total debt is subject to division in your divorce.