AM I RESPONSIBLE FOR MY SPOUSE’S GAMBLING DEBT?
Seeking divorce is never an easy choice, but when financial misbehavior is present, it may be a partner’s only option. When one spouse gambles away a family’s assets, divorce might seem like the only escape for a jaded lover. Here is everything you need to know about gambling and divorce, and whether or not you are responsible for your spouse’s gambling debt.
Gambling Debts and Divorce
In a divorce, all property is usually divided by the court between the parties if no prior agreement exists, such as a prenup or a postnup. This division of property and assets also often applies to any debts and financial obligations the married couple might have. If, however, the commitments or financial losses are the responsibility of only one spouse, the court may differ in the way it divides both assets and liabilities.
Gambling is one such instance where the court may handle property division differently. A family law court judge will allow the airing of any complaints a party may have about the wasting of marital assets through compulsive or addictive activities such as gambling. The judge might choose to alter the division of assets to award the jilted spouse a more substantial stake in the shared assets. This practice means that while the gambler (that is, the wrongdoer) doesn’t face direct punishment, they suffer a reprimand through a reduced share of community assets
Equitable Division of Assets
In the United States, courts base the handling of property division in divorce on either “community property” or “equitable distribution” principles, with New Jersey being the latter. In “equitable distribution” states, judges may punish a spouse for gambling debts, or they may not punish them at all, depending on the particulars of the case. Judges will likely consider all parts of the gambling complaint, including whether the other spouse knew about the losses, whether they complained, and for how long the problem lasted.
How to Prove Objections to Gambling Debts
If a partner seeks to show that they didn’t condone their spouse’s gambling, they must prove this with credible documentation. Evidence which might help demonstrate opposition to the gambling can include:
- Text messages
- Phone transcripts
- Sworn testimony of an impartial witness
It is also crucial that the party provides direct evidence of a gambling problem as well. Examples of the relevant proof of gambling may include:
- Credit card or bank statements
- Betting slips
Contact an Experienced New Jersey Divorce Attorney Today
Because of the complexities of issues such as divorce and gambling debts, if you are considering a divorce where similar problems happen, you should speak with an experienced divorce attorney immediately.
Contact the Law Offices of James C. DeZao today for your free consultation. Our experienced family law attorneys are here to help you through this challenging time in your life and will fight to help you claim the money you deserve. Divorce is never easy, especially when gambling is involved. Fortunately, choosing the right family law attorney can be. Call DeZao Law today at (973) 358-6134.