Will I take on my spouse’s debt in a divorce?

Divorce gets messy not just because of people’s emotions but also because of how intertwined their lives become during marriage. People share checking accounts and houses. They combine their retirement savings and take out joint credit cards.

Then, when they divorce, they have to sort through all of their belongings and also their financial applications to start living financially separate lives. Many couples in Georgia will have a difficult time addressing their marital property in the early stages of a divorce.

Debts can also prove to be a sticking point for many couples. Will a spouse who did not take on major debts have to help pay them back after a divorce?

Many debts could be marital debt

Just like couples share their income regardless of whose name is on the paycheck deposited into the shared bank account, so too do couples share responsibility for debts created during their marriage. Obviously, debts added to shared credit accounts will be the theoretical responsibility of both spouses.

Accounts held only in the name of one spouse could also be subject to division in a Georgia divorce. In most cases, the primary consideration regarding whether the debt is subject to division or not will be the date when it originated.

If someone had debt from before their marriage that they still have not paid off when the divorce occurs, that debt will likely remain theirs to take care of separately. Most debts from during the marriage, including student loans and credit cards in the name of only one spouse, could potentially end up divided.

What happens to debt can be a major sticking point

Some people insist that they will not help pay for certain debts, possibly because their spouse created those debts by conducting an affair. Other people may worry that their spouse will fail to pay debts after the divorce and ruin their credit score.

A thorough review of the household financial circumstances is a key starting point for anyone contemplating a divorce in Georgia. Additionally, they will want to try to identify charges that could constitute dissipation, such as money wasted on an extramarital affair.

In some cases, someone worried about the behavior of their spouse might take the debt in the divorce along with more marital property so that they don’t have to worry about their former spouse defaulting. In theory, every divorcing couple will have the opportunity to set their own terms for property division, including the division of debt. Otherwise, they will have to rely on the judge’s interpretation of the state’s equitable distribution standard.

Identifying the most pressing concerns that may evolve from property division concerns may help those who are preparing for divorce in Georgia secure better outcomes with the assistance of a reputable attorney.

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