How do you divide marital debts in divorce?

Dividing your debt during a divorce? This has the potential to become a contentious issue. Of course, that’s for good reason. If you have debts that your spouse didn’t know about or vice-versa, then you or they may not want to share in those. If you took out debt to support your spouse’s career or schooling, you may feel it’s unfair for you to pay them back without the benefits.

Dividing your debts during divorce may be difficult, but there is a good way to go about it. At the start, the first thing you’ll want to do is to determine who is liable for which debts.

How does you know which debts you’ll keep in divorce?

You may not be sure which debts you’ll keep in the divorce at first, so you need to collect information about all of your debts and take them to your attorney. Then, you’ll go over which debts are solely your responsibility versus those that are currently marital/shared debts.

Debts you had before the marriage, such as school loans, a car loan or others, will likely remain in your name alone unless your spouse is on the account. Other items, like shared credit cards or a mortgage that you’re both on, will be debts that you share.

How do you divide shared debts?

There are a few ways you could divide shared debts. For shared credit cards, for example, if you know that one person usually uses the card despite both being listed as users, then that person could choose to keep the debt.

For things like school loans, the person who needed the loans should keep them, and the person who put payments toward that schooling may also be entitled to some of that money back.

What should you do if you can’t figure out how to divide your debts?

You have a few options. First, you can negotiate with your spouse and see what you do or don’t agree on. If those negotiations go well, you may be able to settle right away.

If you can’t agree, you might try alternative dispute resolution options or ask your attorney to represent you in divorce court. There, a judge can decide on the division of your debts for you.

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