View Our Practice Areas

How are the different types of debt handled in property division?

Yours, mine or ours? That is the primary question when it comes to property division in a Michigan divorce. Couples have two options: they can either pay off all their debts before filing for the divorce, or they can have the court decide who will be responsible for which debts. However, regardless of the ruling of the court, lenders will still hold those whose names are signed on the debt contract responsible for payment. It is not always possible to settle all debts, but taking joint debts into a new life may not be desired, and some choose to close joint accounts and open new individual accounts wherever possible.

Debt comes in two types: secured and unsecured debts. Secured debts are those that will allow the lender or lien holder to repossess the item or property if payments are not made. This typically includes homes and other real estate assets along with cars and boats. Regardless of whom the court orders to pay a particular debt, if that person defaults, the lender may seek payment from the other spouse -- it will also have a negative impact on the credit scores of both parties. The most appropriate approach might be to refinance such assets when possible.

Michigan is an equitable distribution state, which means that each spouse will be responsible for the debts in his or her name. This also applies to real estate in the name of only one spouse. When it comes to unsecured debts such as credit card accounts, the court will apportion those debts that are in the names of both spouses as it deems fair. Any debts in the name of one spouse only will be his or her responsibility to settle.

Planning a divorce is challenging, even more so if a person is unsure about how debts will be allocated in the property division process. Fortunately, no one has to go through this without help. An experienced divorce attorney can assist by assessing the debts and explaining the applicable Michigan laws to a divorcing spouse. With professional support and guidance, a person may be able to do the necessary financial planning before the divorce to avoid entering a new single life with mountains of debt.

Source:, "How Secured And Unsecured Debt Is Divided During Divorce", Cathy Meyer, Accessed on Jan. 5, 2018

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information


  • Understanding the legalities of the divorce process Laura has walked me through the maze of this legal system educating me so that I understand the divorce process. She has fought for me an every issue that I have had concerns with and given me excellent advice when I needed it. I am very satisfied with the direction and results. - Anonymous
  • The Best Family Lawyer in MI My cousin who owns his own law firm in Toronto found Amy for me as the best female lawyer in MI. It turned out to be very true. She helped me through one of the hardest times of my life, not only just legally but emotionally through a divorce... - Graeme
  • Laura Eisenberg -Attorney Without a doubt, one of the most professional people I have ever dealt with. Laura is an over-communicator with a complete skill set. She was able to manage my expectations while helping me to feel confident in the decisions we were making. The results were great and the client-lawyer relationship was exceptional.- Jeff
  • Excellent, Supportive, Knowledgeable, Strong Amy is the best type of lawyer one could want - she is tough when needed, extremely knowledgeable about her field, confident, supportive, straightforward, reliable and cognizant of keeping financial commitments at a reasonable level. Amy handled my divorce and was not only excellent in her delivery of services, but...- Jordana
  • Highly Recommended - Caring, Tough, Affordable Lawyer Laura Eisenberg was 100% on my side during my divorce and actually got it pushed through ahead of schedule because of her good relationship with the Oakland County judge! She got me everything I wanted and also worked out the custody, child support and the property settlement that I wanted. - Katherine
  • Very Skilled & Experienced Lawyer Laura helped me through a very difficult divorce situation. I was completely taken by surprise when my spouse filed divorce papers, and was worried about the children, the house, child support, etc. A friend recommended Laura because she had really helped her with her divorce. - Anonymous
Read More
  1. Super Lawyers
  2. Distinguished AV | LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell | Peer Review Rated For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability
  3. AAML | American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  4. The Best Lawyers in America
  5. MIPA
  6. Business | Top Lawyers
  7. Avvo Rating 10.0 | Superb | Featured Attorney

Get Started Today

Responding to our clients' needs is our first priority at Eisenberg & Spilman, PLLC. Whether you are considering divorce and have questions about your rights, or you are seeking custody of your child, our Oakland County family law attorneys are here to help you.

We invite you to contact Eisenberg & Spilman, PLLC, at 248-358-8880 to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your divorce or other family law matters. In addition to our regular business hours, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.

Email Us For A Response

Eisenberg & Spilman, PLLC
600 South Adams Road Suite 100
Birmingham, MI 48009

Phone: 248-358-8880
Birmingham Family Law Office

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy