Debt is treated the same as property under Texas law. This means, like property, the debt can be either separate property or community property for divorce purposes. Community property refers to assets that a married couple obtains during a marriage, and if the marriage ends in divorce, the assets must be divided as part of the divorce.
Separate property is property or assets owned by one spouse prior to marriage or received as an inheritance or was given as a gift to the spouse during the marriage. Separate property in Texas is not subject to division in a divorce, and neither are separate debts incurred by only one spouse prior to the marriage.
Generally, both spouses are liable for all debts incurred while they were married, without regard to who, in fact, incurred the debt or spent the money. There are some exceptions, but even accounts that are only one spouse’s name could be community property and divided between the spouses in a divorce.
Divorce already puts a strain on finances for many people, and you should never be responsible for unnecessary debts. Seek help from a Sugar Land property division lawyer today.
Types of Marital Debt
Marital debt refers to financial obligations you, your spouse, or both undertook during the marriage. Some of these debts include:
- A mortgage used to finance the purchase of your home
- Credit card debt
- Auto loan
- Student loan
How Marital Property is Divided During a Texas Divorce
The following are typical ways couples divide debts incurred during marriage:
- The couple can sell joint property such as their home or car and use the proceeds to pay off their debts before finalizing the divorce.
- One spouse can have a lawyer negotiate a larger share of marital property in exchange for the spouse paying off the marital debt. One spouse can likewise negotiate for larger spousal support payments in exchange for shouldering the marital debt.
- The divorcing couple can agree to divide all marital debt and marital assets equally. In this arrangement, the couple each get half of the assets, and each pays half of the debt.
- If one of the spouses has custody of a child or children, then that spouse can ask the court to order the other spouse to pay off a larger portion of the marital debt, plus child support and spousal maintenance.
You and your spouse have many options when it comes to dividing debt, and you should always have the guidance of an experienced attorney who can advise you whether a certain debt division arrangement is fair or not.
Call a Sugar Land Property Division Lawyer
Going through a divorce is a difficult process for many couples. If your marriage has come to an end and you have debts you are worried about, an experienced Sugar Land property division lawyer can help you navigate the process with less stress. We will assess your debt situation and advise you on what is the best option for you to pursue. Contact the office of Jamie Jordan, PLLC, today for a free consultation.