What happen to assets in the event of death or divorce?

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What happen to assets in the event of death or divorce?

My friend and I have a disagreement. Will you please settle it? He is convinced that his wife’s debt is not his if they get divorced or she dies. They were married in WY and have lived there for their whole 10 year marriage. His explanation is that because all of their accounts (except their house) are separate that anything she takes on and doesn’t have his name on it makes him not responsible for that debt. I believe in the case of divorce, he is entitled to not only half the assets but half of all of the debt incurred during the marriage regardless of the name on it. What’s the case?

Asked on November 12, 2011 under Family Law, Wyoming

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Wyoming is what is known as an equitable distribution state. This means that with regard to Wyoming divorce assets, anything the spouses brought into a marriage usually will not be included in Wyoming divorce assets or Wyoming divorce property. However, separate & non-marital property may be included in property division if the trial judge feels this is necessary to make each spouse whole after the divorce. This is permitted under Wyoming case law and the Judge has wide discretion in that determination.  The general rule is that property - and debt - incurred during a marriage is a marital asset or marital debt regardless of whose name is on what.  Also remember that the parties can agree on what ever they wish ti agree on in a marital settlement agreement. Good luck to them.


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