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What becomes of your debt in a divorce?

Questions about finances and property division are primary concerns among people who are going through a divorce. Aside from child custody issues, property division matters can be some of the most emotionally charged components of a divorce.

What's important to keep in mind is that marital assets and property are not the only things that could be divided. The debts that a couple carries also have to be sorted out and split up -- and how this is handled could be a rude awakening for people who might be expecting a result much different from the eventual outcome.

One potential misunderstanding has to do with debt that is incurred during a marriage. As a recent article describes, a credit card where both spouses are co-signers is the responsibility of both parties -- even if only one spouse used the card. The situation might be different if one spouse opens a credit card account independently; in that case, that debt might stay with the spouse who incurred the debt.

In Georgia, family law judges are able to exercise some freedom with regard to how they might choose to divide debts. This contrasts with many other states, where judges are expected to adhere to sets of guidelines with little room for variation.

Because of this flexibility, judges may choose to divide the responsibility for debts in a variety of ways. This could mean requiring more of the spouse who incurred the debt; it could also mean giving the debt payoff responsibility to the spouse who is in a better financial position.

Because the possibilities are far from certain, having an experienced family law attorney on your side during the process is often wise.

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