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What Happens to Your Debts During a Divorce?

Any debts that you have accrued during your marriage are likely to be considered joint marital debt and subject to the same division process as your marital property. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your name or your spouse’s name on the account — if it occurred during your marriage and there was an expectation that each of you would contribute to paying it off, then each of you are responsible for continuing to make payments after the divorce is over.

Courts typically maintain the status quo for paying off loans secured by collateral during divorce proceedings, because if the lender does not receive payment then it can take back the property at stake. The court might choose to put out temporary orders to determine which spouse is responsible for paying mortgages and other loans while the divorce process is underway. However, judges do not automatically do this, so you may need to request an order if you are having difficulty communicating about this with your spouse.

It’s also important to note that just because you get divorced doesn’t mean your creditors will stop coming after you, and it doesn’t matter what the language of your decree says. If one party ends up filing for bankruptcy, only their responsibility is forgiven, and the creditor will continue to come after the other spouse to get payment for the debts.

In some circumstances, you may be able to take your spouse back to court if terms of debt responsibility are unfair, or if your ex-spouse is not meeting their responsibility.

The laws associated with debt responsibility during divorce are complicated, so be sure to seek the assistance of a skilled Long Island family law attorney with Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.

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