During a divorce, couples often find debt difficult to untangle. If you were married for a substantial amount of time, it can be even more difficult to distinguish between your debt and your spouse’s debt. After all, when your finances are comingled for so long, you may not know what belongs to who.
Determining whether your debt belongs to you, your spouse or both depends on when you accumulated the debt, explains the Huffington Post.
Debt before marriage
If your spouse acquired debt before your marriage, then he or she has the sole responsibility to repay the creditors. You may have combined household bills while married, including student loan debt that you incurred before marriage. This does not mean that it remains combined after your divorce. You take your prior debts with you.
Debt after marriage
Most couples incur debt during the marriage. You may buy a house together, open credit card accounts in both of your names or obtain a loan together. These debts belong to both of you. In most cases, the court can split debts the same way that they split your assets. They could decide to split it evenly. Some couples find a solution together. If you and your former spouse can agree on how to split your debt, you can add that to the divorce proceedings.
If you split your debts, remember to take your name off any credit cards or that your former spouse pays fully. If you do not take your name off the account, then the creditor can still seek payment for you if your ex does not make payments.