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How to deal with debt during and after your divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2022 | Divorce |

Are you worried about the financial implications of your divorce? If not, you probably should be. The way in which your assets are divided in your divorce can reshape your financial standing for decades to come. This means that you need to take a comprehensive and approach to fighting for the marital assets that you deserve.

But you can’t stop there. You also have to take into consideration the debt that you may be left with post-marriage dissolution.

What debts are subject to division

Debts that are considered marital in nature will be subjected to equitable division, which doesn’t necessarily mean that your debts will be divided evenly amongst you and your spouse. Common marital debts include:

  • Mortgages
  • Auto loans
  • Equity lines of credit
  • Credit card debt
  • Medical debt

But before agreeing to take on some of this debt post-divorce, you need to carefully consider whether it’s actually marital debt. This means assessing when the debt was accumulated and whether you actually benefited from the debt.

Other factors

If you can’t negotiate a settlement in regard to how to handle your marital debt, then a judge will decide for you. When making that decision, the judge will consider a number of other factors, including each of the following:

  • Contributions made to the family during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • Each party’s financial positioning post-divorce
  • Each party’s ability to pay the debt
  • Which party will have primary physical custody of any children from the marriage
  • Each party’s earnings capacity and current income
  • The physical and mental condition of each spouse

These factors leave a lot of room for argument, so as you navigate your divorce, you’ll want to make sure that you’re developing the strong legal arguments that you need on your side.

How to deal with debt after divorce

If you’re heading for divorce, then you’re probably stressed about how you’re going to handle your debt and maintain your lifestyle. That’s a justifiable concern. Here are some steps that you can take to hopefully makes things a little easier:

  • Set up automatic payments
  • Put bill due dates on your calendar so that you can better keep track of them
  • Ensure that you don’t have any jointly-held debt with your former spouse
  • Sell off assets that you no longer need, especially if they’re expensive and you’re going to struggle to make payments on them
  • Develop a repayment plan that ensures financial stability but also puts you in a position to pay off debt as quickly as possible

There’s no one approach that is best to tackling your debt post-divorce. Instead, you’ll need to come up with a strategy that works best for you. That means knowing which debts are in play, how to negotiate a fair debt outcome, and how to address the debt that’s been left to you.

Take control of your divorce

Far too many people either try to navigate their divorce on their own, or they don’t take an aggressive approach to protect their interests. Don’t let this happen to you. If you do, then you could end up facing a less than desirable financial situation after your divorce is finalized.