What happens to debt during the property division in divorce?

Going through a divorce is never easy, and some of the most challenging divorce-related procedures involve children and assets. When there are significant debts that form part of the property division process, it becomes even more challenging. New Jersey is a common-law state, which means that assets and debts are divided equitably, and this process will involve determining whether debts are separate or marital.

Certain debts might be regarded as marital debt. These include child care, utilities and mortgage or rent, and couples will have to reconcile these debts during the divorce. Of course, if a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that addresses debts is in place, they might escape debt-related contention in the divorce.

More couples are choosing not to get married until their careers are established. If they live together as a couple, they might acquire assets together, and if the relationship ends, each partner will be responsible for the debts in his or her name. However, there could be significant complications with debts that benefited both parties. Some unmarried couples are proactive and sign a cohabitation agreement, similar to a prenuptial agreement for married couples, to avoid contention if they break up.

Anyone in New Jersey who has to deal with a divorce and the challenges of property division can seek the support and guidance of an experienced divorce attorney. Legal counsel can explain the pros and cons of using the services of a divorce mediator to facilitate negotiations, as opposed to litigation. This can allow the client to make an informed decision about the way to proceed — with the advocacy of the attorney every step along the way.