Debt during divorce

Divorce is already a stressful process to begin with, but sorting out the debts of either spouse can complicate matters even more. This is even more true when they are a surprise. Whether it be finding out about hidden debts from your spouse or confusion around responsibility for one spouse’s student loans debts; It is ideal to have a good understanding and to take control of debts before a divorce even begins.

Here’s some information to keep in mind when managing debt before proceeding with a divorce:

Avoiding debt before the divorce:
The expenses of a divorce – legal fees, court costs, and living expenses if you move out of your marital residence can add up quickly. It is a good idea to save up money if you are considering a divorce so that you do not have to put these expenses on credit cards. It is best to avoid as much debt as you can before the divorce.

Be aware of the amount of debt:
If you do not handle the household expenses, you may not be in the know about debts your spouse may have accrued prior to or during your marriage.
It is important to get this knowledge so that arrangements can be made for the debt to be paid during the divorce process and once the divorce has been finalized.

Student loan debt:
Student loans can be burdensome debts and they are generally the responsibility of the student or parent who took out the loan, but if a student loan was taken out during a marriage, it can be considered a marital debt and should be handled during the divorce. The spouse who took out the loan might be totally responsible or it could remain a responsibility to be split amongst the parties.

Credit cards:
Who does it belong to? Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter if a credit card debit was only in one spouse’s name, if the debt accrued during the marriage, it is seen as a marital debt. A court can require that all or some of the debt be the responsibility of both spouses.

Debts obtained during a marriage can affect divorce in many different ways. Dealing with debts during a divorce can be challenging. If you or someone you know are thinking about debts and getting a divorce and reside in Massachusetts, please call Amaral & Associates, P.C. at (617) 539-1010 or visit us at for information about what your next steps should be and whether or not mediation or a traditional divorce is the best option for you.

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