Who Is Responsible For The Marital Debts in a Divorce

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     JoAnn 
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    I have heard countless horror stories of spouses racking up a huge amount of debt when they are served with divorce papers. Some binge shop with the credit cards, some buy a fancy sport car or boat, some buy jewelry.

    Usually the spouse is angry but many do not realize the implications of that debt. He or she may have done the purchasing buy YOU may be responsible for half of that debt, which could be considerable if the purchase is large.

    If you live in a Community Property state both parties are responsible, even for debt incurred by one partner. States with community laws are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. Alaska is an “opt-in” community property state, in which spouses may agree to be jointly responsible for all debts.

    If you are in a situation where your spouse is racking up a huge amount of debt during the divorce process you should consult your attorney immediately.

    In addition you should be certain that all debts incurred jointly are paid off before the divorce is final. You may have a written decree that says your spouse is responsible for the mortgage or the auto loan that is in both your names but if they quit paying the creditor will come after you. If they cannot be paid off then they should be refinanced so that the debt is only in the name of the party that is responsible.

    Financial issues are a major point disagreement during a divorce, it is always advisable to get advice from a divorce financial planner or a trusted accountant.

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