Sometimes no matter how hard you try to make things work, they won’t. That goes for a number of marriages too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there were about 813,862 divorces and annulments in the U.S. last year, out of a population of 256,483,624. That number is already down several points from the figure recorded in 2014, with 832,157 divorces and annulments in a population of 254,408,815.
So when you and your soon-to-be ex head for a divorce, one of the first questions that pop up is what happens to your property. The New York Courts says it’s important for both parties to inform the judge of how much they earn and of any debts they owe. When a divorce is granted, your properties will be divided equitably. That’s not the same thing as equally, though.
An equitable distribution covers two types of properties: the martial property and the separate property. The marital property, which is any property bought during the marriage, is divided between you and your spouse.
The separate property, though, refers to property/assets owned by a spouse before the marriage. This also includes any inheritance passed down or personal injury payments to the spouse, along with gifts from someone else—like friends and family—during the marriage. Anything deemed as a separate property isn’t available for equitable distribution.
If your spouse has credit card debt and you agree to pay off the balance in case s/he defaults, you could end up holding the bag if she skips. So be careful about sharing debts. One way to get this resolved is to hire a lawyer to help you merge your marital settlement agreement into the court order. That way, your spouse would be forced to pay you for the debt you covered or what s/he owes.