Am I Going to Have to Pay my Spouse’s Debts After we Get Divorced? (Pt 2)

Having to crack into your savings to take on debts that weren’t yours is awful!

Hi there. We’re glad you could join us again for this discussion on marital debts, and who gets stuck paying what when the time comes to pull the plug. As we mentioned in the previous article, who accrued the debt is important to the court when figuring out who to assign it to, but why and even when are also factors they take into account. There are actually a lot of things that come into play when a couple with debts parts ways, so let’s check out a few more…

If the debt is accrued by both of you on behalf of one of you…

If you and your spouse went on vacation to Aruba and racked up thousands in credit card debt, well, you were both on that vacation, so it’s unlikely that the court is going to stick one of you with the bill. However, if you both contributed to a car that is only ever driven by one spouse (and they plan to keep that car after the divorce is final) there’s a good chance that along with the car, they’ll also get the bill. But that doesn’t always that way.

If you spent it together, you pay it off together.

If you and your spouse invest in some expensive couches for the den in your house, and a big screen TV that is used primarily by one of you (for example – as a place to have friends over to watch sports games) it’s unlikely you’ll get the Judge to view those items as anything other than marital debt. You brought them together to furnish the home that you owned and lived in together. They were freely available for both of you to use in your home. So you will both probably have to pay off that debt. The only thing that might affect that is if the one who gets to keep those items after the divorce agrees to pay for the remainder of the money owed.

Credit card debt can be very tricky when you get divorced.

Many couples get joint credit cards in both of their names when they’re married. This might work really well for the duration of the marriage, but it can make the divorce process really tricky. Why? Because unless you can prove that the money was specifically spent by one spouse on items that benefitted only them and not the other spouse (like a vacation that was taken by only one spouse) chances are the money owed will be viewed as marital debt and you’ll both get stuck with the bill. And then there’s the fact that credit card companies don’t care who spent the money, they just want someone – anyone – to pay it back! (Which means if your name was on the card as well, they’re coming after you!)

Diving up your debts is very hard – don’t do it alone!

If you’re getting divorced, or even just considering it in the future, you should also look into making sure that you hire the best divorce attorney available in mid-Michigan. And that means us. At The Kronzek Firm, our skilled family law attorneys have decades of experience handling every aspect of divorce, from custody and visitation, to alimony and asset division. So if you need help working through the hard parts (and they’re all hard parts in a divorce!), call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. We’re here to help.

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Bonnie on Avvo, 2015

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