Debts are divided according to the same rules as property in a New Mexico divorce case. Since New Mexico is a community property state, most obligations entered into during a marriage are considered community debts.
It may seem unfair, but New Mexico courts frequently divide debt equally between the two people, regardless of:
- Who signed for the debt. It doesn’t matter if both spouses or just one incurred the debt. If it was acquired during the marriage, it's presumed to be for the benefit of both spouses.
- Who's at fault for the divorce. Infidelity, for example, may be relevant to why you're getting divorced, but this issue is irrelevant regarding the division of debt.
Some Financial Obligations Aren't Community Debts
In the majority of circumstances, marital debt is divided equally, but certain situations counter this court action. For example, the following financial obligations may be the responsibility of just one spouse:
- Marital waste. This is often defined as one spouse incurring debt for gambling, substance abuse, or expenses related to an extramarital affair.
- Debt accrued outside the marriage. This includes outstanding accounts prior to the marriage or during a legal separation.
- Debt both spouses agree is separate. Generally, the court won't overrule an agreement of both spouses if it's made in good faith and without coercion.
Most divorcing couples have some debt. If you believe this financial burden shouldn't be split equally between you and your ex, it's important to make a strong argument to the court about why it should be considered non-community debt.
An experienced Albuquerque divorce lawyer can review financial records and help you understand what you might realistically need to pay. Call Genus Law Group today. We'll fight to protect your rights and assure you only have to deal with community debt according to New Mexico law.