Hardy v. Hardy
311 S.C. 433, 429 S.E.2d 811 (1993)
Mr. Hardy and Mrs. Hardy filed
for divorce after 36 years of marriage.
At the time of the divorce,
Mr. Hardy owed about $32k in his name, and Mrs. Hardy owed about $3k in
All of the debt was
acquired during the marriage.
As part of the divorce
settlement, the Trial Court found that each party was responsible for
paying their own debt. In addition, the Court awarded Mrs. Hardy some alimony. Mr. Hardy appealed.
The Appellate Court reversed
the award of alimony.
The Appellate Court found
that alimony should only be
awarded when there is a set of circumstances likely to generate a need
In this case, Mrs. Hardy
had a pension and a part-time job, and there was no foreseeable need for
The Court found that when
determining assets in order to make an apportionment, the courts must
factor in debts. Therefore, there is a rebutable presumption that all
debts are joint marital property.
In this case, despite the
fact that Mr. Hardy had $32k of debt in his name and Mrs. Hardy had $3k
in her name, the Trial Court should have found that they had $35k of marital
debt and apportioned it evenly.
The presumption is
rebutable though, and if the Trial Court finds that some of the debt
was non-marital, they don't have
to split it.
Non-marital debt is debt created for non-marital purposes.
The basic rule is that marital
debt is divided the same way as marital