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Who pays joint debt in a divorce?

If you and your spouse have made the choice to part ways, you know that at some point you must undertake the task of apportioning your shared belongings and assets to one or the other of you.

In addition to splitting any assets you and your spouse share, you may also need to decide how you will split any debt you have incurred together.

Debt and your divorce decree

When you and your spouse work out your property division settlement, you may include both assets and debts in the decisions. The terms of your agreements on these topics may be clearly outlined in your divorce decree. This decree, however, may have little meaning to your creditors.

As explained by U.S. News and World Report, a creditor may consider you liable for a debt so long as your name remains on the account even if your divorce decree indicates that your former spouse should pay the debt.

Debt options for divorcing spouses

Some couples may choose to repay any joint debt they have before filing for divorce. Others may find a way to repay joint debt during their divorce process prior to finalizing their split. When these options fail to present themselves, it may benefit spouses to transfer shared debt to new accounts in one person’s name only based on who agrees to repay the debt.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give separated or divorcing spouses an overview of how their creditors may view financial responsibility for any shared debt regardless of what their separation or divorce agreement may stipulate.

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