Gambling Debt As Part Of Marital Estate

advice on divorceQuestion:

My wife has a gambling addiction that has put us severely in debt, with the majority of the debt being in her name.

Will I be liable for her gambling debts in the divorce?


This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Oklahoma and am thus unable to provide legal advice on divorce.

As a general rule, debt incurred while during the marriage is considered part of the marital estate and will be subject to an equitable division in a divorce. In most cases, it makes very little difference whose name the debt is in when you’re dealing with making such a division.

With that said, in some states, including where I practice, you can try to distinguish the debt based on a claim that it was not incurred for a “marital purpose.”

Under this theory, your wife would carry the burden of showing that somehow her gambling debt benefited the marriage. Since the debt is the result of her addiction, she likely faces an uphill battle. This approach may shift this issue in your favor.

I’d strongly recommend you discuss this issue with an experienced men’s divorce lawyer as you evaluate the categorization of this debt and your legal strategy in avoiding it.

To set up an appointment with a Cordell and Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Oklahoma City Divorce Lawyer Christian D. Barnard, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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