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Division of Debts

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 Oakdale, 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 651-760-7524. We are committed to protecting your interests.

Our Attorneys
Client testimonials
  • "Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.

  • "With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.

  • "Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.

  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.


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