Am I responsible for my ex’s debt after divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2022 | Divorce, Marital Agreements

Dividing your belongings in a divorce can lead to high-tension conversations. When dealing with property division, assets like your home, cars, and cash undoubtedly come to mind. But did you know that debt is also considered “property” in the realm of divorce?

There are a few instances where you would not be responsible for your ex’s financial obligations.

Debt that belongs to both of you

According to California law, divorcing couples share debt regardless of who accrued it. The courts call this “community debt.”  You are both responsible for all accounts, even those not jointly opened by the two of you.

Sometimes, a spouse may hide spending throughout the marriage. By law, that deficit still belongs to both of you. It is possible to have this excluded from your financial responsibilities. But legal help is typically required in these situations.

The debt you do not have to share

Anything acquired after the date you separated is not a joint possession. It is crucial to keep notes during your separation to protect yourself. Document the date you decided to break up and keep it for your records. If your partner opened a credit card after that date, it might not be part of your post-marital commitments.

Additionally, liabilities brought into the relationship will return to the original payee after the split. For example, a student loan predating your wedding is not part of your commingled assets.

The courts will have the final say on how you divvy your possessions, debt included. Uncovering all marital property will help during this process.