Washington County Family Law Attorneys Help You with Division of Debts in Your Divorce

Protecting clients’ interests in division of debt cases in Washington County, Dakota County, Burnsville, Stillwater and Woodbury, MN

Many couples acquired a significant amount of debt during the tumultuous economy of the past decade. In a divorce, deciding how to divide debts with your spouse can be a contentious issue. At Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart, P.A., we provide aggressive representation in all aspects of your divorce case, including fighting for a fair division of marital debts.

The effect of assigning responsibility for marital debts

Your divorce settlement or final decree does not affect your contractual obligations in the eyes of your creditors. Even if your divorce settlement or order indicates your ex-spouse is responsible for paying off your auto loan, nothing prevents the finance company from starting collection actions against you if signed the loan and your ex-spouse defaults on payments.

Your recourse if this happens is to ask the court to hold your ex-spouse responsible for satisfying the debts he or she was supposed to pay. The court may also order your ex to pay any damages you incurred because of the loan default.

What happens if you cannot reach an agreement about the division of debt?

When dealing with the division of debt, courts consider many factors, including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Any prior marriages
  • Age of each spouse
  • Health of each spouse
  • Station in life of each spouse
  • Occupation of each spouse
  • Amount and sources of income
  • Vocational skills of the spouses
  • Employability of each spouse
  • Each spouse’s separate estate
  • Each spouse’s separate liabilities
  • Each spouse’s needs
  • Opportunity for future acquisition of assets

How are debts divided in a divorce?

Debts, like assets, can be marital or nonmarital. To prevent a situation in which a spouse runs up huge debts in anticipation of tagging the other spouse with half the liability, courts consider these factors:

  • Who incurred the debt
  • When the debt was incurred
  • The purpose of the debt
  • Whether the other spouse benefitted from the acquisition of the debt
  • Whether both spouses consented to the debt
  • Who is better able to pay the debt

There is no rule that determines who gets which debts. Rather, each factor must be considered in relation to the others.

Dividing a mortgage

A mortgage is legally binding on the people who signed it. A divorce court cannot rewrite the mortgage, but it can assign responsibility to one spouse or the other. The court may also order a party to take reasonable steps to refinance the mortgage in his or her own name. If the assigned party defaults on the mortgage, the other party can take the responsible party back to court to seek damages related to the default.

Contact Minnesota divorce lawyers for an appointment today

With office in Lakeville, Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. serves clients throughout Minnesota, including in Washington County, Dakota County, Burnsville, Eagan and Woodbury, MN. Let us help you deal with your family law disputes. Contact us online, or call us at 651-379-3024. We are committed to protecting your interests.

Contact the Firm


Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.


20856 Holyoke Avenue,
P.O. Box 369,
Lakeville, Minnesota 55044