Ending a marriage is never an easy experience, but struggling over property division can be especially challenging. For many Texas spouses, an unpleasant surprise occurs when they learn that not only do assets have to be divided during a divorce, but debts must also be split between parties. Understanding the role of debt in divorce is important and can help spouses plan for their financial future.
Texas is a community property state, meaning that spouses are jointly responsible for debt incurred during the marriage. That is true regardless of who’s name is on the account or for whom the purchases were made. For couples that have high debt loads, it makes sense to address debt prior to filing for divorce, even if only one party is certain that the marriage is coming to an end.
For example, if a couple has 40,000 in unsecured debt that only one party racked up, it may make sense to pay than down before initiating a divorce. That is especially true in cases where both spouses are working and earning a decent income. Taking an aggressive stance on repaying debt can simplify the property division portion of a divorce.
Working to pay down marital debt may be easier when a couple is still together instead of during divorce, which will certainly alter the couple’s relationship. Even if only one Texas spouse is aware that divorce is on the horizon, paying down credit card and other types of debt will help both parties move through the property division process and into new lives as singles. It also reduces the number of accounts that must be negotiated during a divorce.
Source: madison.com, “You Could Get Stuck With Your Spouse’s Debt in Divorce“, Christy Bieber, Nov. 16, 2017