Dividing of the Debts
You have probably heard—or possibly experienced—the hassles involved with dividing up property for a divorce. Who gets the extra car? Who gets the 72-inch plasma TV? But there is often a thing that escapes the notice of those who are considering divorce: debt. Yes, debt is usually divided like property in the process following divorce.
Individual vs. Joint Debt
Like property rules, there is an easy way to get an idea of who gets what in regards to debt. For someone who came into a marriage with debt, he or she will leave with the same debt. For example, if you came into the marriage with your outstanding school loans, then you are still responsible for repaying those loans after a divorce—your spouse will probably not be held responsible.
However, most couples never expect that they will get divorced. They decide to get joint bank accounts, joint credit cards, etc. They may accrue a large amount of debt on a credit card that is held in both names. In times of a divorce, this debt is considered joint debt—and therefore, it is divided between the soon-to-split pair.
Avoiding Joint Debt
Joint debt can seem very unfair when it comes time to divide the responsibility for paying creditors. For instance, if your spouse decided to go all-out and redo her entire wardrobe, new socks and all, and charged it on a joint credit card, you can be required to help pay the bills for her new clothes.
If you want to avoid this “But it wasn't what I wanted” effect, there are several ways that you can avoid joint debt. First, keep some money separate. Secondly, it can be a good idea for each of you to have a credit card in your own name, and then another joint card. Thus, if you want that brand-new laptop but he thinks that's unreasonable, you may want to charge it to your own account.
Of course, it is still a good idea to be fiscally responsible and not rack up a ton of debt, even if it is in your own name. However, not having to divide up the “unfair” joint debts may help keep your split amicable.
If you or someone you know is going through a divorce, seeking experienced legal advice can help the process go as smoothly as possible. For more information on dividing up debt and other divorce-related issues, contact the Denton divorce lawyers of Alexander & Associates by calling 972-420-6560 today.
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