Law Office of David L. Scott

Am I Responsible for Spouses Debt After Divorce?

In a divorce, the court divides the couple’s marital debts according to the rule of equitable division or pursuant to a settlement agreement achieved during mediation or a prenuptial agreement.

When you get divorced, there are things that you will miss about your ex-spouse and things that you will not miss. You will not miss your ex’s annoying habits and volatile moods, but you will miss the favorite pieces of furniture that your ex took when he moved out. You will not miss the way your ex thought nothing of swiping the credit card on major purchases without asking you but used to get mad when you so much as treated yourself to Steak and Shake on the way home from work, but now that she is not there, you will miss the time when all of the household tasks could be divided between two adults instead of you having to do everything by yourself. Even if you accept full responsibility for ruining your marriage, you have to admit that being recently divorced is a bummer, especially when you are alone, paying off debts that you and your ex-spouse racked up together. 

If your spouse has filed for divorce, you might be worried that the court will hold you responsible for a disproportionate share of the household debt. The good news is that which of your ex’s debts can become your responsibility depends on the details, and besides, you and your ex will probably work out your issues of debt division in divorce mediation instead of the court deciding. A Murfreesboro divorce lawyer can help you plan to manage your finances after divorce, including a share of the marital debt.

What Determines Whether a Debt is Marital?

The criteria that make a debt marital, as opposed to separate, are the same as the criteria that make an asset marital. If you or your spouse incurred the debt during the marriage, it is a marital debt, regardless of which spouse signed the loan agreement or benefited from the borrowed money or the asset that secures the debt. There may be exceptions if the debt was not used for marital purposes. You can designate a debt that Tennessee law would consider marital as a separate debt by signing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

How Does the Court Decide How to Divide Marital Debt?

Equitable division laws require the court to divide the marital debt in the fairest possible way. In most cases, the judge will consider it fair for you to be responsible for the loan on your car and your ex to be responsible for the loan on hers. If the spouses have a wide disparity in their incomes, the court might hold the higher-income spouse responsible for a greater share of the debt.

Contact our Experienced Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyer Today

A family law attorney can help you avoid being assigned an unfairly large share of your marital debt in divorce. Contact David L. Scott in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, or call (615)896-7656 to set up a consultation.

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