Married couples share everything – including debt. During a marriage, you may rack up joint debt through credit card debt, car loans, a mortgage, and home equity loans. It is vital that during the divorce process, all of these loans are either assigned or paid for with assets.

Debts should be assigned to one spouse or the other according to the nature of that debt. If the debt is a car loan, the person getting the car in the divorce should often take responsibility for that debt. If the debt is a credit card debt, the debt should often be assigned to whomever made the charges. In cases in which debt assignment isn’t as clear, divorcing couples may consider assigning the debt to the more financially responsible person or the person with an income that allows then to pay the debt.

Remember: just because a debt is not assigned to you in a divorce decree doesn’t mean that your name is no longer connected with it. An ex-spouse who doesn’t pay off assigned debts could harm your credit. Be sure to dissolve all joint accounts involving and move them to just one name.

Perhaps the simplest way to handle joint debt during a divorce is to use joint assets to pay the debts; however, this is not an option for many couples.
Molly B. Kenny
Connect with me
Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington