How do You Divide Debts in a California Divorce?
When a marriage ends in California, the assets acquired by the couple must be divided up. Most couples, however, do not just have money and assets. They also have debts. A decision must be made on how to divide these debts when a divorce settlement agreement is reached.
Determining how to divide debts in a California divorce is important because you need to make sure that you protect your interests. An Irvine, CA divorce and family law professional at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide you with guidance and advice on how debts are divided. Your attorney can also offer you guidance and suggestions on how to make sure that you do not end up becoming responsible for your spouse’s debt. Call as soon as possible when you have decided that your marriage should end so you can begin the process of protecting yourself from becoming liable for paying back money spent by your ex.
How Do You Divide Debts in a California Divorce?
As a general matter, debts that are incurred during the course of a marriage are considered to be community debts. This means that both spouses can be responsible for paying back the money that is owed. This is true regardless of whether one spouse was the one who spent all of the money and got the couple into debt, or whether the couple spent the cash together. If you were married and your spouse incurred debt, you can be held liable for paying a portion of that debt back. If the spouses came into the marriage with debt, they should also be responsible for those debts when they divorce. For example, if a husband or wife had substantial student loans before marriage, that spouse will likely still be responsible for the repayment of those loans when the marriage has ended.
It is very important for couples to realize that while a divorce agreement should divide debts in a California divorce, creditors may have their own ideas of who should pay back a loan. If you and your spouse have a joint credit card in both of your names or took out a car loan or a mortgage in both of your names, you are both going to be responsible for repaying the money that you owe. Even if your divorce settlement agreement says that your spouse has to pay back the money, the creditor could still ruin your credit and go after your assets if the debt is not paid. This means it is dangerous to just trust your spouse to repay debts which are assigned to him or her in a divorce settlement. Whenever possible, it is usually best to repay debts from marital assets before splitting up and/or to refinance debt into the name of the spouse who will become responsible for it.
An Irvine divorce and family law professional will help you to understand what you can do to protect your financial interests as you divide debts in a California divorce. Call Brown & Charbonneau, LLP today to speak with an experienced family law attorney who will fight to help you emerge from your divorce with a bright financial future.