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Dividing Debt in Connecticut Divorce

23/09/13 5:00 PM

purse in hand

Filing for divorce will not solve any debt issues that you and your spouse have. This is because debt is divided between the spouses in a divorce.  You and your spouse will share the responsibility for any debts that you accumulated over the course of your marriage. This includes joint loans, joint tax returns, or anything else that you and your spouse signed together.  These debts will be considered joint debt and will be divided between you accordingly. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all debt is joint debt. Any debts that belonged to one spouse before the marriage took place will be considered individual debt, not joint debt.  Some of the biggest debts that you and your spouse have accumulated, such as mortgages and credit card debt, may concern you and your spouse.  However, many judges will try to be as accommodating with the division of debt as possible.

Depending upon the state that you live in, communal debts might not be divided equally, however, a judge will always try to make the division of the debt fair. A few states have adopted communal property laws, in which all assets and debts accumulated during the marriage are split 50-50, regardless of financial standings.  However, Connecticut is not a state that abides by communal property laws. In the Connecticut court system, judges consider who is in a better position to pay the debt. As a result, one spouse may be paying more money than another. Regardless, both spouses will most likely pay at least some of the debt, and it is important to keep track of the money that you owe and pay towards joint debts.

As soon as you realize that your marriage is ending, you should cancel any joint credit cards that you and your spouse have so that the balance does not increase. At this point, you want to begin building individual credit by obtaining credit cards apart from your spouse. It is important to do this because the credit that you accumulated while you were married might not be applicable to you once you are divorced. If you had a lot of joint accounts, this might be the case. As a result, you might have to reapply for credit individually and can deny or extend your credit on that individual basis.  In some cases, this will be a blessing (for instance, if you and your spouse accumulated a lot of debt together). However, if you had a good credit score and worked hard to maintain it during your marriage, it can be devastating to find yourself starting over.

Joint debt will be divided in a similar way that joint assets are divided in a divorce. Both parties will receive a fair amount of assets and debt given their individual financial standings. If you or your spouse has individual debt, you will each be responsible for this debt at the end of the divorce. If you are unsure of the joint debt that you and your spouse have, or how it will be divided in court, a divorce lawyer can help answer these questions. You can contact me here for advice or if you are looking for legal representation.

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Connecticut Divorce 101 | Comments Off on Dividing Debt in Connecticut Divorce

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