Marital Debt

Definition - What does Marital Debt mean?

Marital debt is a calculation at issue during divorce proceedings. During a divorce, debts incurred during the marriage are divided according to statutes and common law principles to determine which spouse is responsible for paying the debt.

Common practice holds a spouse responsible for the debts that the spouse acquired before the marriage.

Justipedia explains Marital Debt

Calculating marital debts is a tricky process for courts, lawyers and spouses during a divorce proceeding. In the interest of fairness, courts try to discern which spouse was most responsible for the acquisition of debt during the marriage. The courts must balance this concern with fairness against the possibility of endless litigation over marital debt.

Debtors also have a vested interest in marital debt, because they need to know who to pursue after the spouses divorce. The IRS, for example, holds both spouses responsible for money owed through joint tax returns.

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