Debt Problems and Your Marriage
If a couple argues about money problems such as debt early in their marriage, it is a strong indicator that their marriage is headed for a divorce, according to a recent Kansas State University study.
Even after the marriage ends, these money issues can linger. Under Florida’s equitable distribution laws, all marital property – assets and debts – are divided between the spouses. So, you and your former spouse may end up dealing with marital debt for years to come.
Unfortunately, the problems created by this debt can be made worse by the illegal tactics of abusive debt collectors.
Why Do Money Problems Lead to Divorce?
According to the Kansas State study, marital arguments about money issues:
- Are more intense than other types of disputes
- Tend to last longer
- Often involve harsh language
- Have a negative impact on children.
Even worse, when a couple fights about money issues, it raises the stress level in their relationship and actually decreases the opportunity for the spouses to engage in constructive financial planning that could actually improve their situation, according to the study.
In other words, as money issues spiral out of control, so does the relationship.
Dealing with Marital Debt after a Divorce
If you obtain a divorce, marital debt won’t go away in an equitable distribution state such as Florida. The debt won’t necessarily be evenly divided between you and your former spouse. Instead, it will be distributed equitably (or fairly).
For instance, if your spouse’s spending led to the bulk of your marital credit card debt, your spouse could end up being responsible for all of that debt when it is distributed by a court. On the other hand, a court may decide that it is only fair that you evenly share the debt.
After equitable distribution occurs, any creditor or third-party debt collector should deal only with your former spouse when seeking to collect his or her share of the marital debt. You will no longer be legally responsible for that debt if you have taken proper steps to notify the creditor and to have your name removed from the account. (If you fail to take those steps, you could still be liable for the debt.)
What You Can Do If Debt Collectors Illegally Harass You about Marital Debt
Unfortunately, there are many creditors and third-party debt collection agencies that will go to any lengths to collect revenue. If your spouse is falling behind in making debt payments, you may be contacted by a debt collector who will:
- Misinform you that you are liable for the debt
- Attempt to collect more than what is owed
- Call you early in the morning or late at night or at your workplace
- Threaten you with arrests or other legal action
- Lie about its authority to garnish your wages.
You can take action. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) give you the right to put an immediate end to illegal activities by debt collectors. In some cases, you may be able to obtain up to $1,000 plus any actual damages that you have suffered as a result of their conduct.
To learn more, contact the Florida Debt Fighters today. We are available to provide a free consultation about your case and get started on the legal relief you deserve.