Assuming Responsibility for New Debts after Divorce

Divorce is difficult enough to handle, but when you add the frustration and stress of determining the liability for the marital debts, it can substantially increase the effects of divorce that were already in place. Though it isn’t very difficult when to place responsibility on one party or the other for actual loans since only the party who signed the promissory note can be held responsible, credit cards can open an entire new can of worms. The perfect solution to this dilemma is to close the existing accounts and allow each spouse to open new accounts in their individual names. Unfortunately this may not be a workable solution for those who travel substantially for business or when there are automatic payments that are charged monthly to a credit card for various expenses.

Liabilities can be a real problem and are one of the major headaches of divorce. While it is impossible to avoid all the effects of divorce, if you and your spouse make a decision regarding the separation of liabilities prior to the finalization of the divorce, you can eliminate a great deal of the stress; all you will need to do is present your agreement to your divorce lawyer so he or she can include it as part of the divorce settlement. This will also prevent the need to later determine which of the marital debts belong to you alone. When you separate all new debts as they occur you will make things much easier for you, your spouse and your perspective divorce lawyers. This step will allow you to do the following:

  • Provide your lawyer with an accurate accounting of what debts you are willing to pay and for which ones you are assuming responsibility.
  • Makes it easier for the lawyer and the courts to gain an accurate assessment of the financial capabilities of each party for the assumption of martial debts.
  • Refinancing loans that are solely your responsibility will make the distribution of martial debts proceed much smoother.
  • Each divorce lawyer will see a more accurate picture of individual debt responsibility.

You want to be very careful, though; if you attempt to separate liabilities too early in the divorce process, it can become very complicated if any of those debts relate to the children. You and your spouse will also need to decide who will assume responsibility for any liabilities that relate to the children: yours, his or shared. This is one of the reasons couples decide even before they actually file for divorce to close all existing accounts and open ones individually. Of course, this is an individual decision and is not a workable solution for all couples.

There is no easy way around the effects of divorce, and if it is going to work positively for you, it is essential for you to be willing to work together with your spouse. It is also important to consider not just new liabilities but also new sources of income and assets in order to maintain a separate accounting of those as well. When it pertains to credit cards, it is pretty easy to ascertain: the date and signature on the receipt is proof enough for determination of liability. The liability for any new loans falls on the person who signs the contract. Once the divorce papers are completed and ready to be presented to the court you should make arrangements to assume your portion of any liabilities you created after your separation.


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