What Happens To Your Liability With Your Ex-Spouse's Debt

When married, dealing with debt, whether it's debt in your name or your spouse's, is a liability that is on both of your hands. After all, you are married and are thus sharing financial responsibility in all aspects of life. However, this changes once you are divorced, but it's not as cut and dry as many people think. So what happens to your liability with your ex-spouse's debt?

​You're Responsible for Community Property

Anything that was purchased while you were married is going to be left in the responsibility of you both still. This means that the house you bought together and the cars are going to be something that you will both be responsible for paying for. The only time a property is not considered community property you are both liable for is any property that was purchased before marriage or a property that was inherited. 

Community Property is Not the Same as Community Debt

Any other kind of debt that does not have to do with property owed, such as a debt from a personal loan or credit card, is not considered community debt even if that debt was accumulated during the marriage. There are only specific situations where this kind of debt would be held in the responsibility of you and your ex. If the debt was accumulated because of a need for food or shelter, then both spouses will be responsible. So if this is your debt, you will have to prove in court if your divorce case is taken this far that the debt was accumulated for this reason. To do this, you may need statements and other types of proof. 

Joint Debt Must be Dealt With Between the Two

Any kind of joint debt, which would be a credit card that is under both names, will need to be taken care of by the both of you. The court cannot separate this debt since it can ruin one person's credit if that other person doesn't pay. This is because the credit card company is not going to care about the fact that the account is joint until the debt is paid. This is why it's best to figure these things out in mediation. 

When you know some of the things that happen with debt between you and your spouse when divorcing, you can better understand what your financial responsibilities might be like after the divorce is finalized. Contact a lawyer from a firm like The Law Offices of Paul F. Moore II if you have questions about how liability and assets are configured.