Much like your assets and property, you and your spouse must divide assets during the divorce process. Unless you have a prenuptial agreement that determines how your debts are to be divided, your debts will be split according to state law. California is a community property state, which means that all assets and debts incurred throughout the marriage belong to both spouses and, as such, must be divided equally. Continue reading to learn more about debt division in a California divorce.
Dividing Debts in a Divorce
The most difficult aspect of debt division in a divorce is determining which debts are separate and which belong to both spouses. Generally, if the debt was incurred prior to the divorce, but after the marriage, the court will consider it community debt, regardless of which spouse’s name is attached to it. For example, if one spouse purchased the children’s new school clothes using a credit card that was not in both names, both spouses would still be responsible for this debt.
Separate debt is debt that was incurred before the marriage and after the date of separation. While this might seem black and white, the date of separation is not always a straightforward topic. In California, the date of separation begins when there is a physical separation and when one spouse shows an intent to end the marriage.
If possible, a way to make this situation easier for both parties is to attempt to pay off your marital debts. Paying off your marital debts before your divorce can also provide some peace of mind if you do not trust your spouse to pay off these debts after the divorce. If your former spouse neglects to make these payments, creditors can come after you, which means you will have to go to court to enforce the order. To avoid this stressful situation altogether, consider selling off community property or assets to pay off community debt and save all invoices and receipts.
Divorce is a complex legal process, so be sure to secure skilled legal counsel as soon as possible.
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If you are getting divorced, do not hesitate to reach out to the team at TRABOLSI | LEVY | GABBARD LLP for the experienced representation you need to navigate the obstacles you may encounter throughout this process. Backed by more than 100 years of combined experience, you can rely on us to obtain the best results for your case.
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