How are debts divided in a divorce?

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How are debts divided in a divorce?

My wife moved out of our family home over 2 years ago; I’ve been out of the marital home a little over a year. I filed for divorce 6 months ago. We both live with significant others and I have a child with my girlfriend. She is now trying to make me pay her car payment (purchased within this last year) and I want her to pay half of what the balance was on our joint credit at the time of separation. While we were together I was the breadwinner but now I’m on state aid and she makes more money than I do. Will she be able to make me pay for her car and/or get alimony even though I can’t afford it and she makes more money

Asked on October 1, 2011 under Family Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The courts in Michigan divide assets under a theory of law known as equitable distribution.  That theory should also be used is dividing marital debt.  But the courts will always allow the parties to make the determination as to the division them selves if they can agree.  Now, the first thing that the court does is look at the end date of the marriage to determine what is a marital asset and/or debt. That is generally some legal thing that happens - filing for divorce - or the parties can agree to the date.  If they do not then certain other happenings - perhaps the moving out but maybe not - can show the court the marriage was over. If the debt was incurred during the marriage the court will not determine who incurred the debt except under certain circumstances.  Your wife is trying to pass the car of as marital debt.  You believe - and I might agree - that it was a debt incurred separately.  But you are going to have a fight on your hands and you need to get legal help here.  Good luck.  


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