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How may debt lead to divorce, and then who pays the balances?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2022 | Divorce

A survey of Americans conducted by National Debt Relief found that 54% of respondents felt a spouse’s debts could lead to a divorce. Researchers noted that 69% of the individuals surveyed had to forego the things they loved because of their money problems.

Debt could cause unmanageable turbulence in a marriage. Almost three-quarters of the survey respondents felt their debts were like having a “black cloud” above their heads. The increased stress and anxiety brought on by debt may lead some couples to consider divorce as a way to resolve their financial issues.

Divorce may include negotiations to divide shared debts

Texas is a community property state, which means that couples not only split their assets in half; their shared debts are also divided. Under the Texas Family Code, the court presumes all assets and debts from a marriage belong to a couple’s shared community property.

As noted by Brides.com, the court may review financial statements to find which balances classify as marital debts. A judge may, for example, agree to reduce or offset one spouse’s responsibility for a shared debt if the individual paid 100% for a shared property. Before agreeing to take 50% of the shared debt, you may discuss exchanging it for 100% ownership of a marital asset.

Spouses have no obligation to pay debts incurred before marriage

Time Magazine notes that the debts each individual took on before marriage belongs to them separately. Some debts, such as student loans, do not divide when divorcing even if you helped your spouse pay them while married.

Individuals may open their own credit cards during a marriage. If the amount charged benefited your household, however, a divorce may require paying part of the debt. Credit cards used for a separate purpose generally remain the responsibility of the sole account owner.

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