Divorce Part Two – Dividing the Assets and the Liabilities

Going through a divorce is trying, both emotionally and financially. It is a difficult time and the emotions involved often manifest themselves in a desire to hurt the other party. Since civility and criminal law prevent us (if we are thinking clearly) from attempting to do so physically, we often attempt to do so financially and emotionally. It is from these feelings that horror stories of husbands hiding their income and accounts from their wives and wives refusing to let their husband see the couple’s children evolve. While many laws to prevent these activities exist today, these things still happen from time to time and either scenario can be perpetrated by either party. It is very important that you take steps to protect yourself.

Hire an Attorney

Many states have adopted community property laws that essentially divide all of the couples assets and liabilities down the middle in the event of a divorce. In cases where there are few assets and no children the couple may be able to handle the divorce amicably and reach an agreement suitable to each other and the court without the involvement of an attorney. If you own a house, have children, or have considerable assets and investments (or considerable debts), an attorney who specializes in divorce law is essential.

Understand Debt and the Divorce Decree

In a community property state (currently Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin), debts will be divided down the middle just like your assets. Each spouse will be equally liable under the terms of the divorce settlement. The divorce decree is binding to you and your ex-spouse only, however, and your creditors will not care if one or the other is held responsible for payments to their account. If the debt goes unpaid, they will proceed with collection activity against the person named on the account and have every legal right to do so. Explaining the divorce decree and sending them copies of it will have no bearing on the situation. Even if the divorce settlement specifies the account be paid by your ex, it can affect your credit rating if it’s in your name and goes unpaid.

Divorce is about a number of things and money is among them. When a person is emotionally distraught over the dissolution of his or her marriage it can be difficult to think about finances, but it is, unfortunately, necessary.

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