Exploring how courts handle the division of debt during divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | property division | 0 comments

In Washington, courts strive for an equitable distribution of marital property during a divorce. Remember that divorce requires that couples not only divide assets but also tackle debt division, which significantly affects their future finances.

Courts address several types of debts in divorce proceedings, including mortgages, car loans, credit card debts and personal loans.

Types of debts in divorce

During divorce, courts consider all debts acquired during the marriage as marital debts and divide them between the spouses. However, debts incurred before the marriage typically remain the responsibility of the individual who took them out. The key factor in determining how to divide these debts depends on whose name is on the debt and its purpose.

The division process and its effects

The division of debt often links to asset distribution. For example, a spouse who keeps the family home might also take on more mortgage debt. Judges strive for a fair division, though this does not always mean equal. They evaluate each spouse’s financial status, earning capacity, and how they accumulated the debts.

Manage debt division by working together

To manage debt division effectively, both parties should:

  • Create a comprehensive list of all debts, noting who incurred each debt and why.
  • Check credit reports to ensure you know what all your debts are.
  • Consider closing joint accounts to prevent further joint debt during the divorce process.

It is often wise to work with a financial advisor or a divorce lawyer to navigate the complexities of debt division. They can provide guidance tailored to individual circumstances and help negotiate a settlement that protects financial interests.

Navigating the legal and financial aspects of debt division during a divorce can lead to more informed decisions and a stable financial outlook post-divorce.

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