What happens to your debt in a California divorce?

by | Aug 13, 2021 | Divorce

When you file for divorce, you and your ex will have to divide the property you share. Your bank accounts, your vehicles and even your house are subject to division in a California divorce.

Community property rules give spouses an equal claim to assets and income from during the marriage. Lower-earning or stay-at-home spouses can seek their share of marital assets even if they didn’t make direct financial contributions to the family.

Spouses frequently become so focused on obtaining certain assets that they don’t think about marital debt with filing for divorce. What happened to your debts in a California divorce?

The courts may divide your community or marital debts

If you and your ex can reach your own settlement agreement, you can decide who pays which debts and who received what property from your marital estate. If you cannot agree on those terms, then the California family court will review your situation and rule on it.

Dividing marital debts between spouses is a common approach. The courts might require that one spouse assume certain debts and the other take the remaining household liabilities. Sometimes, the spouse with the higher income will be responsible for all the debts. Other times, the courts may use one spouse’s responsibility for major debts to justify giving that spouse more property as well.

Debts that you or your ex acquired during your marriage with the intent of supporting your household, whether it is a credit card balance or a student loan, will likely get split in your divorce proceedings. Thinking about your marital debt can help you understand what will likely happen during property division proceedings in your divorce.