One challenge that many couples face when getting divorced is dividing their debts. If you have no obligations, you're in luck. If you're like most couples, though, you have debts that you owe. As you work through your divorce case, one of the goals you should have is to divide up the debts fairly and find a way to split it into your own names. Here are some tips to help you divide your debts as you begin working through your divorce.
Figure Out Who Is Responsible for the Debt
The first thing to do is to find out who is responsible for the debt you have. In some states, a spouse is only responsible for the debt that is in his or her name. In other states, both spouses are responsible for all marital debt, no matter whose name is on it. Your lawyer can tell you how this works in your location. Most likely, though, you will both be responsible for all of it. If this is the case, you should each end up with half of the debt when you get divorced.
Aim to Divide It Equally
So, how do you take joint debts and divide them equally? Your lawyer can help you with this, but you should know that this is often the challenging part of the process. One way to do this is by creating a list of the bills you owe. Make sure you include every debt, whether in your name or your spouse's name. Next, add up the list. The total of this list tells you how much you owe together. If you split it in half, you'll determine the amount you are each responsible for paying.
The next step is dividing them by name. If you have some debts in your name, put those on the list for you to pay. If your spouse has some in his or her name, put them on that list. If you see that the amounts are approximately the same, you could divide the debts by taking responsibility for the debts in your name only. This method provides the simplest solution for your situation.
Try to Get the Debts in the Right Names
If you cannot equally split the debts in this manner, look for a way to get the debts in the right names. For example, could each of you take a personal loan to consolidate the debts? Handling it this way provides a fair and effective solution for this issue.
No matter what method you decide to use, make sure your divorce decree outlines your exact plan. The clearer you write the terms of the division of debt, the less likely you will be to encounter problems with this issue after your divorce.
Use a Debt-Solution Program If Necessary
If you feel that you will have too much debt after your divorce is through, talk to your lawyer about using a debt-solution program. There are many options to choose from, including a debt settlement program. With debt settlement, you get out of paying all the debt you owe. Instead, you work on making agreements with your creditors to settle the debt for less than you owe. While your divorce lawyer might not know how to help you complete this task, he or she will be able to help you find a program that will work well for your situation.
Your divorce lawyer will help you learn your rights relating to marital debts as well as your options for dividing it. To learn more about sharing marital debt or other divorce topics, contact a divorce lawyer at a law firm like Katzman Logan Halper & Bennett.