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Debts are part of the property division process

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2023 | Divorce

Divorce is an emotionally and financially taxing process that requires careful consideration of various influences, including the division of a couple’s debts. Just as assets are divided between both parties, so are the debts incurred during the marriage.

Understanding what happens to debts in a divorce can offer some clarity concerning a complex ordeal. Generally speaking, any debt acquired during the marriage is usually considered a joint responsibility, much like assets acquired during a union are considered to be part of a couple’s marital estate. Taking the following concerns into account when preparing for divorce can help you to better understand what to expect from the process.

The impact of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements

If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement and you’re getting, reviewing any clauses related to the division of debt is essential. These agreements can significantly impact how debts are allocated between both parties, overriding standard practices in your jurisdiction. Ensure you understand these details to avoid any surprises during the divorce process.

Debts can offset assets in the property division

When negotiating a divorce settlement, one crucial thing to remember is that debts can offset assets during the property division process. For example, if one party is given ownership of a valuable asset like a house, they might also be assigned the mortgage or a corresponding amount of marital debt. This approach helps to ensure a more equitable division of both assets and liabilities.

Using assets to clear the slate

The sale of marital assets to pay off joint debts can sometimes be helpful. Selling assets like real estate or valuable personal property can generate funds to clear both parties’ financial obligations. This approach helps to enable both individuals to start their post-marriage life without lingering debts. Selling assets to pay off debts might not be ideal, but it can simplify matters. Each party will part ways without worrying about how debts will be managed, eliminating one possible point of contention in post-divorce life.

The role of creditors

It’s also worth noting that your divorce decree won’t automatically absolve you of debt in the eyes of your creditors. You’ll still be legally obligated to pay off any debts in your name. If your ex-spouse is responsible for a particular debt and fails to pay, it could negatively affect your credit score. Therefore, removing your name from any joint accounts or refinance debts is advisable if possible.

Divorce is a complicated process, influenced by emotional and financial hurdles. Having a good understanding of how debts are divided can offer some clarity and peace of mind during this challenging time.