Decatur Family Law and Probate Attorney

Debt can lead to divorce: Who pays?

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2020 | Uncategorized

Divorce happens for many reasons, but financial stress is one of the most common. If you have too much debt, it can make life very difficult, and those difficulties can undermine your relationship.

Say that your credit card debt is so overwhelming that you can barely make ends meet, you can never take vacations and you’re really living from paycheck to paycheck. That may not be what your spouse envisioned when you got married, and they could ask for a divorce.

If they do, who has to pay off the debt?

Generally speaking, joint marital debts are divided just like joint marital assets. You have to split them up because they belong to both of you. For instance, maybe you took out a mortgage to buy a home and you’re both listed on the paperwork. This is why many couples opt to sell the house during divorce; then they can pay off that joint debt and move forward without it.

One thing to remember is that it doesn’t necessarily matter who created the debt. For instance, maybe you have a joint credit card account. Your spouse is the one who did a lot of impulse shopping and created the massive credit card debt noted above. Since you’re also on that account, though, the debt still likely belongs to both of you. You agreed to pay it when you got the card, knowing your spouse would have access.

Divorce issues like this can get complex, and you need to make sure you know what options you have.