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How to divide your debt following a divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2023 | Family Law |

Most couples incur debt throughout their marriage. Like your assets, you have to divide your debt once you file for divorce. The first rule of dividing assets is similar to dividing your assets. Pre-marital debt belongs to you and marital debt belongs to you both.

Determining how to divide the marital debt, however, may be complicated.

Determine marital debt vs. premarital debt

Premarital debt is all debt that you incur before marriage. Marital debt, on the other hand, is debt you acquire during the course of your marriage. All debt you acquire beforehand belongs to you and your spouse is not responsible for it. This includes IRS debt, student loan debt and credit card debt.

Keep in mind that some debt, like student loan debt, can become marital property if your spouse benefitted from your student loans.

Divide combined credit cards

Start with your credit card debt. If you have joint accounts, you may want to consider closing out those accounts entirely. Remove your name as an authorized user from any of your spouse’s cards and have your spouse do the same for any of your cards.

Consolidating your credit card debt is one way that you can create a lump sum for you to split. Otherwise, you can come to an agreement on will remain responsible for each card.

If you both signed a credit card or loan agreement, you both have responsibilities to those debts until a divorce decree says otherwise. However, if you, the responsible party, do not pay, the credit card company may still come after your spouse.