Dividing Debts in Oklahoma Divorce

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Dividing Debts in Oklahoma Divorce is a question faced by many families working through divorce.  One of the most frequently asked questions of a lawyer is “How does property divide in a divorce?”.  This generally includes dividing debts also.  Take for instance you had certain debts entering into a marriage, or your spouse took out student loans for a professional degree during the marriage.  What happens if a divorce occurs?  State law follows an equitable division doctrine when dividing debts in Oklahoma divorce.  This is fairly common in most states.

Dividing Marital Debts

Dividing Debts in Oklahoma divorce fall into two categories: separate property or marital property.  Laws in Oklahoma attempt to create an equitable (not necessarily equal) division of property during divorces.  This includes all marital property.  Thus, it is important to understand what debts fall under marital property in Oklahoma Statutes 43 §121(B) and how that affects dividing debts.

Debts as Marital Property

First, debts are categorized into “secured” or “unsecured” debt.  The simple designation between these two is that secured debts have collateral that can be seized in the event of nonpayment.  Unsecured debt is mostly credit card debt or debt for which there is not real property to seize.  Secured debt usually follows the collateral.  In other words, if you have a car loan, it will be the responsibility of the person who gets the car in the divorce.  Conversely, unsecured debt divides equally between the divorcing spouses.

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Second, if you incur debt for a professional degree during the marriage, this type of student loan debt is separate property.  It intends to help you in the future.  Thus, when a divorce occurs your spouse does not get the future benefits and should not be required to pay for the loans.  However, if student loan debt for a non-professional degree occurs during the marriage it may be a marital asset.  For example, if you use loan money to pay for anything outside of tuition and class expenses, then the loan has contributed to the household.  This makes the loan part of the marital debt because it benefits both parties.

Legal Support in Your Tulsa Divorce Case

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of divorcing and have concerns about dividing debts, call our offices.  Our attorneys have years of experience working with clients in both financial and divorce cases.  We intricately understand the law and have the ability to help you maneuver through the process.  First consultation free 918.743.2233.

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