The Liability of Medical Bills During Divorce in Florida

By Erika Johansen

Florida's "equitable distribution" law seeks to make a fair division of both marital property and marital debts when a couple divorces. Medical bills incurred during marriage are considered marital liabilities, subject to fair distribution between the spouses. However, medical bills incurred before marriage or during the divorce process, as well as medical bills incurred to care for the couple's children, may be treated differently.

Florida Property Division

In Florida, all assets that the spouses earn or acquire during marriage are considered "marital property," and all debts that the spouses incur during marriage, such as medical bills, are "marital liabilities." Florida follows the equitable distribution system to divide these two types property during a divorce. Under equitable distribution, the court divides the marital property and liabilities in an "equitable" manner, meaning that the court tries to achieve the most fair result for both spouses. This doesn't necessarily mean that the liabilities will be divided up evenly; rather, the court will look at the two spouses' respective earning power, contributions to the marriage, health and other factors, and then decide how to fairly divide the marital property and liabilities.

Separate Liabilities

If one spouse incurred medical liabilities before the start of the marriage, that debt is considered a non-marital, or "separate," liability. Typically, separate liabilities are awarded back to the spouse who incurred them. However, even marital debts may be awarded as separate liabilities if the court believes that one spouse spent recklessly or needlessly. For instance, if one spouse incurred enormous medical debt for unnecessary surgical procedures, a court seeking to divide liabilities fairly might decide to award the liability for those procedures entirely to the spouse who incurred it.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Expenses During Divorce

Under Florida law, the court will generally treat all expenses and debts incurred after the filing of divorce as separate property. So if one spouse incurs medical bills during the divorce process, the court will usually award that medical liability to that spouse. Note, however, that the equitable distribution system does allow the court broad leeway to shift debt between the parties in order to achieve a just result.

Children's Medical Expenses

Unlike spousal medical bills, which are divided based on equitable distribution, the court will usually divide the children's medical expenses along the same lines as child support. Florida law calculates child support by combining the two parents' incomes and then requiring child support in the proportion of the two incomes. For instance, if you make twice as much as your spouse, you will generally be responsible for two-thirds of the required child support. So if your child has incurred $1,200 in medical bills, then you would be responsible for $800, while your spouse would need to pay $400.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How Is Debt Split in a Divorce in California?


Related articles

The Responsibility for Medical Debt in a Divorce

With the high cost of medical treatment in this country, unexpected medical bills can ruin a family budget and diminish a savings account. Couples who divorce with outstanding medical bills must face the issue of who pays the debt when the marriage is over. The answer depends on the circumstances of the couple and the laws of the state in which they live.

Illinois Divorce Law on Credit Card Debt

Credits cards are a common way to purchase items when you need them. If you are married, you may not give a second thought to how this debt will be treated in the event that you divorce. Credit cards present some unique issues during property division -- and Illinois, like other states, has specific rules for assigning responsibility between divorcing spouses.

Florida Laws on Credit Cards & Divorce

Florida is an “equitable distribution” state, which means a couple’s marital assets and debts are divided equitably in a divorce. However, an equitable distribution does not necessarily mean an equal distribution. Florida does not consider certain debts to be marital debts divisible by the court and creditors are not bound by the terms of a divorce decree.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How Is Marital Debt Divided in a Divorce in Georgia?

Georgia is an equitable distribution state, so one spouse always runs the risk of having more than half the marital ...

Who Pays the Debt in a Divorce in Kentucky?

Married people incur debt as a matter of course. They purchase homes and automobiles. They take out credit cards for ...

Who Pays the Debts in Texas Divorces?

Texas is technically a community property state, but when it comes to divorce, it does things a little differently from ...

Contingency Liability in a Divorce

Contingent liabilities are potential debts where a party's responsibility has yet to be determined. At the time you and ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED