Differing attitudes toward money are at least one factor in many divorces. If you and your spouse are divorcing, and you’ve racked up a significant amount of debt over the years, you’re understandably concerned about how much of that debt you get “custody” of in the divorce.
Like assets, debt is divided between divorcing spouses. In Texas, assets and debt accumulated during the marriage generally belong equally to both spouses, regardless of who incurred it.
Although Texas is a community property state, the law doesn’t require a strictly equal split. Under Texas community property law, both assets and debts are to be split “equitably.” That means if your spouse incurred most of the debt, they may end up with the bulk of it in the divorce.
If you’re considering divorce, it’s important that you’re aware of all the debt the two of you have. You’ll have a better chance of escaping the debt that’s not in your name — like a car loan that’s your spouse took out alone. A joint credit card can be more problematic. Make sure you know what credit cards, personal loans and other debt your spouse has taken on during your marriage. Don’t assume s/he told you about everything.
Be sure that the debt that your spouse incurred before your marriage doesn’t get lumped in with marital debt. In most cases, you shouldn’t be responsible for the debt your spouse brought in to the marriage.
If you’re concerned that your spouse is going to rack up considerably more debt before the divorce, keep an eye on those credit cards. Talk with your family law attorney about ways that you can minimize the amount of debt for which you’re going to end up being responsible.
Your attorney can help you determine just how much debt will be on the table for division, minimize your responsibility for any further debt and work to seek an agreement that doesn’t leave you saddled with thousands of dollars of your spouse’s debt.