One of the most complex aspects of a divorce is determining what should happen to marital property. Property division should result in each spouse receiving equal shares of all community assets. This is also the same for debt accumulated over the course of a marriage. Spouses will typically share responsibility for their joint debt, including credit card debt.
How debt is handled during divorce will have an impact for years to come. If a spouse knows that a divorce is inevitable, he or she will benefit from taking immediate steps to control spending and make financial adjustments. California is a community property state, meaning that each spouse could be responsible for roughly one-half of community debt.
During a divorce, the attorneys for both spouses typically negotiate regarding how the two spouses will handle credit card balances. If a negotiated agreement is not possible, state laws will apply to the debt. A spouse who believes he or she should not be liable for the debt has the right argue the case. Once a spouse decides to move forward with a divorce, it is prudent to go ahead and close joint accounts, when possible, and start considering ways to protect long-term interests.
The terms of a final divorce order matter, especially when it comes to large portions of debt. Whether it’s how community property is divided or what will happen with credit card debt, careful consideration is essential before agreeing to a negotiated settlement. With future financial stability and long-term interests at stake, there is significant benefit in working with an experienced legal ally throughout the entire divorce process.