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New York divorce: Dealing with debt during a divorce

In today's economy, there are thousands of New York couples who are struggling with a mountain of debt. In addition to a mortgage, many couples have several credit cards that may be maxed out, an auto loan, or other debt. This debt can be problematic enough during marriage, but during a divorce, it can be debilitating.

When many New York couples think about getting a divorce, they think about splitting up the assets. However, the assets aren't the only things that need to be dealt with during a divorce--the debts need to be handled as well. For some couples, this means having to dip into savings and retirement to pay off debts either before, during, or after the divorce.

Then there is the question of what to do with the marital home. Couples that agree to sell the residence and split the proceeds may find they have to continue living together in the house until it is sold in order to make ends meet. This can create an awkward situation not only for the couple, but for any children as well.

When one spouse wants to keep the marital home, it can be just as complicated. In order to get the party leaving the home off of the mortgage, the party keeping the home may need to refinance, which can be difficult in today's housing market. If the party leaving the home is forced to remain on the mortgage, it can negatively affect that party's ability to get another home.

Ending a marriage is an emotional process. Having to deal with the realities of splitting up one household into two can be a painful process. It can become even more complicated and contentious when the couple is faced with dividing their debts. Nevertheless, some may take comfort in knowing that professional help is available to achieve a fair and comprehensive divorce settlement.

Source: Erie Times-News, " Hard times make divorce tougher," Tim Grant, Nov. 28, 2012