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Debt/savings distribution in divorce

Manorville, NY |

I told my spouse I want a divorce in December, in February he moved out, and in April he was served divorce papers. Before he moved out, we had no marital debt and no savings to go through. After he moved out, he racked up close to $50000 in credit card and loan debt (towards his new apartment, lavish new single lifestyle, etc). In turn, I have no debt and I now have a built up savings account for lawyer fees from myself and money loaned from my parents nearing $25000. My question is since we are not divorced yet, but no longer living together, am I responsible for his debt and would he be entitled to any of my savings?

Attorney Answers 2


That is a complicated question that has many factors that must be considered. Technically speaking, any debt accrued during a marriage (prior to filing the divorce papers) would be considered marital debt, however, you can argue that you should not be responsible because you were already separated and the expenses paid with the credit cards and loans were not "marital" in nature. According to the facts you listed you would have a good argument with respect to the debt.

The issue of your savings is similar. Any moneys saved during a marriage (prior to filing for divorce) would be considered "marital property", however, you can argue that because you were already separated your husband should not share in those monies or his share should be less than 50%. Your argument would be stronger if the money was not placed in a joint account. In addition, if your parents loaned you money, it may not actually be an asset because there would be a debt attached to it. Further, if the money was saved after you served the divorce papers it would not be "marital" and therefore he would not be entitled to any of it.

I would recommend hiring an attorney to deal with these issues due to their complexity. I handle many matters in Suffolk County and would be happy to sit down and speak with you about your case. You can reach me at or call my office at 516-775-5557 and ask to speak with me.

Legal disclaimer: This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The post is only an opinion. You should speak to an attorney for further information. I try and answer questions in terms that the readers will understand. The poster is licensed only in NY, CT & NJ. You can reach me at If this post is useful to you, please remember to upvote it. less

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I agree with Mr. Meyers' answer, however, the simplest thing to remember is that divorce court is a court of equity, meaning fairness (although a lot of litigants might disagree with that comment) and that means a court has the right to look behind the simple fact of so-called "Marital debt" and Marital savings. This is especially so because he went into debt to establish a separate residence and you've been saving based upon loans from parents.

I suggest you get a Loan Note signed for your parents loans so you can prove they were loans and not gifts and keep any such money in a separate account from a joint savings or checking account.

I suggest you speak to a matrimonial attorney and I also handle them.

You may call our office at 516-248-6600 or send an email to us at This answer does not form an attorney/client relationship with anyone and any answers do not constitute direct legal advice and should not be followed unless and until you have spoken with an attorney of your choice.

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