Divorce

Settling Debts During a Divorce

Very few people in the world today exchange vows without thinking about what will happen if the marriage ends in divorce. When you get married, you expect that you and your spouse will be together until one of you passes away decades in the future. The sad truth though is that one out of every two marriages now ends in divorce. Not only will you need to decide who gets primary custody of your children, if either of you should get alimony and whether to ask for child support, you also need to understand what happens to your debts.

Settling Debts During a Divorce

What’s Yours is Yours

The court will typically have a mentality of what is yours is yours. If you came into the marriage with thousands of dollars in student debt and did not pay off those loans before the divorce, the court will hold you responsible for those loans later. The same thing holds true for your former spouse too. Your former spouse is responsible for paying any of the debts that he or she had prior to your marriage, even if you helped your spouse pay those debts in the past.

Division of Property

Many people think of the division of property that happens during a divorce as something that only includes assets like any homes or vehicles owned. It actually refers to the debts that the two share. As a married couple, you likely took out multiple loans that included both your names. The court can divide those loans and assign each of you a portion that you need to pay. You should keep in mind though that the court will typically assign more debt to the partner who makes more money.

Shared Debt Problems

A common problem that can arise is when your spouse does not make payments on a shared debt. The court may assign your former spouse a debt that you took out together, which means that your name is still on that debt. If that individual stops making payments, you risk your credit score dropping. A banking expert can speak to the court on your behalf and explain why you should legally have your name taken off that loan. The court may hold your former spouse in contempt and penalize that person with jail time or fines for not paying. You should look at all the debts that you and your spouse have before filing for divorce.

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