How Is Debt Divided In An Arizona Divorce?

When a couple decides to dissolve their marriage, they must tackle the crucial issue of dividing their assets and debts. In the state of Arizona, both marital assets and debts are subject to equitable distribution, ensuring a fair and just allocation.

Marital vs. Separate Debt

Before delving into how debt is divided in an Arizona divorce, it is imperative to grasp the distinction between marital and separate debt.

Marital debt encompasses debt incurred by either spouse during the marriage in support of the family or the attainment of marital property. Examples of marital debt include mortgages, car loans, credit card debt, and medical bills.

Separate debt, on the other hand, refers to debt acquired by only one spouse prior to the marriage, subsequent to the date of separation, or for purposes unrelated to the marriage or family benefit. Student loans, personal loans, and credit card debt incurred for non-marital purposes exemplify separate debt.

How Debt is Divided in an Arizona Divorce

In Arizona, the court divides a couple’s debts in a manner that is both fair and equitable. Several factors are taken into account during this process:

The nature and extent of the debt

When dividing debt, the court considers factors such as the type of debt, the amount owed, and the interest rate associated with the debt.

The resources and liabilities of each party

In determining debt allocation, the court examines the income, assets, and liabilities of each spouse.

The contribution of each party to the acquisition of the debt

Each spouse’s role in acquiring the debt is evaluated. This analysis includes identifying which spouse incurred the debt and the purpose behind incurring it.

The economic circumstances of each party

The court considers the financial situation of each spouse, including their earning potential, employment history, and future financial needs.

Any other relevant factors

Additionally, the court may take into account any other factors deemed relevant to ensure an equitable distribution of debt.

Liability to Third Parties

It is crucial to acknowledge that the court’s order to divide debts in an equitable manner only applies to the relationship between the spouses. It does not affect the relationship between the spouses and their creditors. Thus, in cases where one spouse is ordered to pay a joint debt but fails to do so, the creditor may pursue the other spouse for payment.


The division of debt in an Arizona divorce is a complex and arduous process. Seeking guidance from an experienced divorce attorney is essential when faced with a divorce involving significant debt. An attorney can clarify your legal rights and responsibilities, assisting you in achieving a fair and just division of both assets and debts.

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