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Marital debt can follow you after divorce

The myriad of challenging decisions that Texas couples must face when going through divorces can seem unending at times. The division of marital property is commonly one of the most contested portions of a divorce. Divorce legal issues related to this can include identifying what is actually marital property and what is separate property as well as which spouse gets which asset.

A media article recently highlighted the importance of remembering that it is not only marital assets which get divided during a divorce but also marital debts. Additionally, a great many spouses operate under the assumption that their divorce settlements actually supercede any agreements made with creditors. That, however, is not true. A creditor can still require that you pay an amount if your former spouse does not follow through on his or her responsibility.

In order to prevent a dispute about such things down the road, there are a few things that should be done during the divorce process to avoid one person paying the other party’s debts. One is to include an indemnity clause in your decree, allowing you to go back to court if you become liable for your ex-spouses debts. Another is to ensure that you retain ownership of any asset as long as your name is on the corresponding loan agreement. Paying off as much debt as possible prior to getting divorced is one of the best ways to avoid issues down the road.

Nuances like this can make divorce complicated not just at the time but in later years as well. To guard against such concerns, you may take care to discuss these issues with your attorney and plan accordingly.

Source: Huffington Post, “What Your Divorce Attorney Won’t Tell You About Marital Debt,” Cathy Meyer, March 2, 2014

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