When there is a divorce, the court will divide up the parties' matrimonial assets.
Before dividing the assets, the court will deduct from:
(A) the value of the matrimonial assets,
(B) the value of the matrimonial liabilities,
in order to determine the net value of all the matrimonial assets.
The court will normally not deduct (C) the value of the parties' personal liabilities.
Thus, sometimes, the argument in court is whether a liability is
(1) a matrimonial liability; or
(2) not a matrimonial liability.
Examples of matrimonial liabilities include housing loans on the matrimonial home, liabilities incurred for the household and/or the children, etc.
Examples of non-matrimonial liabilities include liabilities incurred solely for the benefit of one party without the consent (express or implied) consent of the other party.
Credit card debts incurred by one party to buy himself or herself an outrageous gift which the other party immediately objected to after finding out is more likely to be a personal liability.
However, credit card debts incurred in the normal course of the marriage to which neither party objected may be a matrimonial liability.
Gambling debts incurred by one party when the other party has been objecting to the gambling is more likely to be a personal liability.
However, gambling debts incurred on a family trip are likely to be matrimonial liabilities.
Depending on the facts, the court's decision may be made based on case by case considerations and may also depend on how the particular judge views the evidence.
The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.
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