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How are different types of debt treated in divorce?

Planning a divorce can be a process full of stumbling blocks, each one adding additional stress. While having to consider child-related issues and property division, divorcing spouses also have to address debt issues. The division of debt in a Connecticut divorce will form part of the property division process, and knowing which debts will be your responsibility may help you avoid unpleasant surprises.

Credit card debt is typically the responsibility of the account holder. When a credit card is in the names of both spouses in a joint account, the court may apportion the debt and both spouses will have to pay a percentage of it, regardless of who had been paying the account during the marriage. Credit card companies have no interest in an account holder's marital state -- or whom the court ordered to pay -- and will hold the person in whose name the account is responsible.

Mortgage debt is slightly more complicated, and the division of it may depend on state laws. Divorcing couples may decide to sell the family home before they file for divorce and split the proceeds. Otherwise, the court may deal with it in one of several ways. A parent who gets full custody may be awarded the home, or the spouse with the higher income may get it. The spouse who maintains ownership of the house will then have to buy the other spouse's equity in the property.

In an equal division property state such as Connecticut, the court will consider different factors when dividing medical debt. These may include whether the debt represented necessary medical care, whether the debt occurred while the couple was still together, and how the responsibility of the debt will impact any children the couple has. Combined with all other divorce-related issues, the stress of debt division may be overwhelming, and retaining the services of an experienced divorce attorney may be invaluable.

Source: Credit.com, "What Happens to My Debt If I Get a Divorce?", Leslie Tayne, June 23, 2015

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