division of assets and debt

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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division of assets and debt

going through divorce. Myself and my wife have substantial debt. We live in Tennessee and I know things are to be divided equally. I make a substantial smaller salary than my wife. Does the court take into consideration the earning and ability to pay when dividing out the debt between each party. If it goes 50/50 I will most likely be forced to file bankruptcy.

Asked on October 23, 2018 under Family Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, it does not. Income and earning potentially is considered in terms of determining how much support (alimony) one spouse might have to pay another. But debts, like assets, are divided in an "equitable" or fair fashion (which is typically close to even, except as below) without regard to abilty to pay. Generally debts which benefited both spouses will be divided evenly; if you can show that this debt, however, was mostly for your wife's benefit, not yours, you may be able to have her take more of it. A common example is gambling debt incurred by one spouse only: courts will often not make the the other spouse pay for his/her spouse's gambling habit. But debts for joint trips, for cars or vehicles, for the home or food or household supplies, etc. will be divided essentially evenly.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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