Focused Family Law Advocacy In Tuscaloosa And Surrounding Counties

Divorce and debt — should you be worried?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2020 | Property Division |

No one likes carrying around debt, but it can be impossible to buy a car or house in Alabama without taking out a loan. Married couples often choose to take out these loans jointly, which probably makes sense at the time. But what happens to that debt during a divorce? Like other marital assets, couples have to split up their debt as well.

In Alabama, marital assets are divided equally during a divorce. There are some exceptions, but assets are usually considered to be marital so long as they were acquired at some point during the marriage. This means that even if someone borrows money or runs up a debt in solely his or her own name, both parties are still equally responsible for that debt.

Of course this does not necessarily mean that both people will pay half of the monthly bill. Instead, it might mean that one spouse will get a certain debt, while the other will be responsible for paying off another debt — or debts — of similar value. The problem here is that the person whose name is on the debt is still legally responsible for paying it back. So if someone falls behind on payments for a joint debt, then the creditor can still come after the other spouse even though the divorce decree shows that it is not his or her responsibility.

Couples who are going through divorce should pay just as much attention to their marital debts as their assets. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. This is why some people choose to speak with someone who is experienced with dealing with complex Alabama family law issues.