Money is a common reason for couples to split, and one of the most frequently-occurring financial situations that leads to a marital dissolution is the acquisition of too much debt. This can create enormous financial and emotional strain on a family, sometimes becoming the last straw that leads to the couple splitting up.
When creating a divorce agreement either in or out of court, you will be forced to divide up the assets you have obtained during the marriage, but it’s also equally important to divide the debts you have also accrued as a couple. In order to do so, look at all of the bills your family receives in a month in order to get a better picture of where you stand financially. Your lawyer may also ask for you to bring copies of your financial records in to help them determine your financial position on your behalf.
How Will a Judge Divide Your Debts?
Ideally, your judge will attempt to divide your assets and debts equally in order to maintain fairness, but it will rarely if ever be an even 50/50 split. In reality, things are often a lot more complicated than that, so your judge will make some exceptions or decisions to balance things.
For example, a spouse that takes more of the assets may also assume more of the debt in order to balance out the assets and debts. Of course, things such as financial standing, income, spousal support, and child custody will also play into these decisions. As a result, a fair and balanced agreement can be extremely difficult to come to.
Refusal to Pay
It’s also not unheard of for the spouse assigned certain debts in a divorce to either not be able to afford to pay those debts or to just outright refuse to pay them. When this is the case, your creditors do have the legal right to protect themselves and pursue the original party responsible for the debt, which may be the other spouse.
But rest assured your spouse cannot get away from their debt just by ignoring it. If they refuse to pay, you can petition the court to enforce the agreement, which means they must appear in court to explain why they aren’t paying their debt. The court also has other tools at its disposal, such as wage garnishments, bank levies, and more. If you have the ability to pay the debt, keep the proof of payment and you can petition the court for reimbursement from your ex.
If you cannot manage your debts or payments on your income, you may wish to file for bankruptcy in order to obtain financial relief. While this can alleviate some of your debts, it does not release you from your responsibility for child support or spousal support.
It’s strongly advised that you do not attempt to complete the divorce process without the assistance of one of our skilled San Diego divorce attorney. At Fair Cadora, APC, our team has the skill and experience you need in your corner to protect your best interests throughout the process. Our attorneys have been honored with some of the highest distinctions available in the industry, including being named a Board Certified Family Law Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization.
Please call the firm today to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.