In cases of divorce, each party may have questions regarding the division of property and debts. Here, we continue going over some of the more sought after answers regarding division, and clarify some of the processes and inner workings that go into a court’s final judgement.
In the case of prenuptial agreements, believe it or not, they are not the final say in a divorce judgement. The court will consider the different elements, and its decision may be altered depending on the circumstances. If a prenup was written when both parties were financially equal, then, 20 years later the wife had spent the majority of the marriage as a homemaker – a prenup cannot stipulate that she will walk away with nothing but the shirt on her back. This would be considered inequitable, and violates Wisconsin law.
As far as one spouse racking up a ton of debt without the knowledge and/or consent of the other, unfortunately, both may be held equally responsible. Debt will be divided equally unless predetermined elements factor in. If, for example, one party accrued debt because of drugs, alcohol, gambling, or otherwise – the court may see fit to relieve the responsibility of the debt from the other party.
One question that many ask concerns the failure of one party to pay debt in light of a court order to do so. This can be remedied by the courts in some cases. Unfortunately, creditors are not bound by a court order. Because of this, they do hold the right to come after the other party in the event that one fails to pay. As previously mentioned, one may be able to file a contempt motion with the court for the failure to pay. In these situations, the court may order relief through income assignments which cover the amount the spouse has failed to pay.
In the event that one spouse files bankruptcy, unfortunately, the other may be held liable for the entire amount of the outstanding debt, but only if the debt is joint debt. Creditors do hold the capabilities to come after a non-debtor spouse, but only occasionally, and under the right circumstances. A bankruptcy does not alleviate support payments, but may include property settlements.
If after a final divorce judgement has been rendered, one party feels the decisions were unfair, the court does not have the authority to change the order. The only way to go about doing this would be to file a motion to reopen. Then, the court would have to grant the motion. Although, these motions are usually not granted. This is why everything should be done correctly, and to the best of your attorney’s ability the first time.
If you have anymore questions about property division, I suggest you contact an experienced family law attorney for more answers.
Family Law Attorney