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How debt is divided in a divorce

When an individual gets divorced in Texas or elsewhere, it may be necessary to split both assets and debts when the marriage ends. In most cases, an individual is responsible for debts incurred prior to marriage. However, state law generally determines how debts accrued during a marriage are divided in a divorce settlement. As Texas is a community property state, joint debts are generally divided 50/50 regardless of who is on the loan.

It is important to understand that an individual is ultimately responsible for any debt that is in his or her name. This is generally true whether someone is on the loan by him or herself or with a spouse and even if the other spouse is required to pay some or all of the outstanding balance. Creditors are not bound by a divorce decree, and they can still go after anyone named on a loan or other type of debt.

Individuals may ask that joint debts be refinanced so that they are in the other spouse's name only. The only other way for a person to protect a credit score or history after a divorce is to ensure that the balance is paid in full. As a general rule, it may be a good idea to close joint accounts when the marriage ends.

A divorce may present financial challenges for an individual as he or she may be responsible for debts incurred during the marriage. Someone also may be trying to handle living expenses and other costs on a single income. In some cases, a person may be entitled to spousal support to help cover those costs. An attorney may be able to talk more about what spousal support is and how to pursue it.

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