Debt division during a divorce

When most people in Louisiana make the difficult decision to end their marriage, they are likely aware of several of the difficult decisions that must be made. These decisions typically involve spousal and child support as well as asset division. However, many couples seeking a divorce often struggle to decide who will be responsible for debt.

Generally speaking, each person is responsible for the debt that he or she brings into the marriage. However, debt incurred during the marriage is looked at differently in a community property state such as Louisiana. In these states, both spouses are responsible for the debt, regardless of whose name is on the loan.

During the divorce, the couple must either decide how the debt will be divided or request that a judge make the determination. However, an agreement is a contract between the two people and does not mean that creditors will not hold a person accountable for unpaid debt should the other person fail to pay. For example, if a one spouse is given the house in the settlement, the nonresident spouse can also suffer the consequences if the mortgage is not paid if both remain on the loan.

There are some actions that can help protect a person in Louisiana from debt that has been assigned to a former spouse in a divorce. For example, close any jointly held credit cards and have loans refinanced so that only one spouse's name remains on it. An experienced attorney can help those seeking a divorce further understand the different ways in which they can protect themselves.

Source:, "You Could Get Stuck With Your Spouse's Debt in Divorce", Christy Bieber, Nov. 17, 2017

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