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What happens to debt during divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2023 | Divorce |

After making the decision to divorce, you know that various areas of your life will change quickly. As you consider how your life will change and what you can expect going forward, it is beneficial to consider how you can protect your financial interests. Not only should you pursue a fair financial order and a reasonable division of all marital property, you should also consider how you can ensure that you do not leave the marriage with an unfair portion of marital debt.

All marital property is subject to equitable division in a divorce. This means that each Missouri spouse has a right to a portion of property accumulated, purchased, collected, saved or earned over the course of the marriage. The same principle goes for marital debt as well. Jointly accumulated debt is also subject to equitable division during a divorce.

Your long-term financial obligations

The financial changes you will experience during your divorce may prove costly. You may have to adjust to post-divorce financial changes, reduced income, the expenses associated with a new home and more. It is important that you also do not find yourself with a portion of marital debt that is unfair or unreasonable. While marital debt is subject to division, separate debt, which is debt amassed in one spouse’s name before the marriage, is not. Additionally, a prenuptial agreement could also impact the division of debt.

While each spouse may be jointly responsible for their shared debt, there are different ways they can address it. For example, it may make sense to simply split credit card debt evenly between the two spouses. However, mortgage debt is more complicated, depending on whether one spouse plans to stay in the home. If one spouse is keeping a vehicle bought by both spouses, that spouse would likely be responsible for paying off the vehicle.

The future starts now

The terms of a divorce order matter. Decisions made during this process will have a long-term impact, and it is helpful to have experienced guidance when negotiating terms or considering a settlement offered by the other spouse. You have the right to terms that will allow you to look to the future with confidence and move forward knowing that you have received a fair portion of both property and debt.

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