As you end a marriage, you need to be careful with divorce debt liability. This isn’t just in acrimonious or hostile proceedings either. Even a mistake by a well-meaning party can put the other at risk. It’s crucial to have a plan for who is responsible for debt after a divorce and to split the debt and assets in ways that both parties can agree to.
Credit card companies, banks, and other lenders are not bound by divorce decrees. If you jointly accrued debt, you can’t necessarily expect your creditors to adjust accordingly. Above all else, know this about joint debt: if your former partner fails to make a payment, defaults on a debt, or declares bankruptcy, the creditors can go after you for the tab.
This may seem unfair at a confusing time, but you aren’t alone in figuring this out. Your divorce lawyer should be familiar with circumstances of joint finances. Makes sure they know what you want and what the other party wants, and make sure they clearly communicate the negotiations to you. If you have a financial planner, they can help as well. If you don’t, credit counselors offer free services that can help you figure out these issues.
There are a number of options as to how to handle this kind of debt. Paying off what you can together before the divorce can help you both feel like you’ve started your new chapter on the right foot. One good solution for what’s left is to divide the debt on joint credit cards and transfer your portion to an individual card.
You should also keep records of your purchases after divorce. Court documentation regarding joint debt can help you – don’t delay filing this information, it’s a priority.
If you cannot decide and reach an impasse regarding joint debt, consider a mediator. The question of who is responsible for debt after a divorce needs to be solved. Divorce debt liability is not an area you want to allow to get murky. These tips are just a start. You should prioritize joint debt as one of the first things you discuss in a divorce.