Minnesota Divorce and Allocating Debt Between the Spouses


IOUMinnesota Courts have discretion to divide  marital debt in any way as long as the division has what the law calls a basis in fact and in legal principle.

Debt incurred during a marriage is included as marital liability  in a Minnesota divorce just as property acquired during the marriage is counted as an asset in a Minnesota divorce. Review the recent post “Minnesota Divorce and Division of Marital and Non-Marital Property” dated  4/10/14, found on this site for a discussion of property in a Minnesota divorce.

Marital debt in a Minnesota divorce is usually assigned to both spouses in an equitable manner. Equitable means fair and not necessarily equal.

Student loans have a unique character as debt. The person incurring the loan receives the benefit of the education and should probably assume the debt. If the education is used to benefit the family for a period of time, then an argument can be made that the loan is marital debt; also, some student loans pay for housing and necessary living expenses for the family and not just tuition and books. If the family used the loan for necessary living expenses, then the Court will likely consider the loan, or at least part of it, a marital debt.

Sometimes a debt can be assigned to one spouse if that spouse incurred the debt as an unreasonable expense; some examples of an unreasonable debt in a Minnesota divorce include a spouse’s gambling debt, a spouse’s use and purchase of illegal drugs or a spouse’s debt that benefited a lover.  An argument could be made to assign debt to a spouse who incurred a lot of debt downloading pornography via credit card.

The assignment of debt and the assignment of assets are used in settlements to generate a just and equitable apportionment under Minnesota divorce law. The goal of Courts is to grant a Minnesota divorce that is just and equitable in terms of property division, which includes debt allocation.

Kate Willmore

Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Family Lawyer, Divorce Attorney, and Mediator

(320) 217-6030  or e-mail kaw@katewillmorelaw.com

http://www.katewillmorelaw.com    http://www.mediationminnesota.com

Copyright 2014

About Kate Willmore, Esq.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, divorce, custody and family attorney brings over 25 years experience to every client's legal matter. *** Licensed in Minnesota and in California

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