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What are some issues with dividing debt in California?

When a couple decides to split and does so in a way that can be considered amicable enough to negotiate the division of property outside of the courts, they may come across some common pitfalls that unintentionally leave one person paying out or receiving more than the other, even when splitting assets and debt right down the middle.

For instance, when a couple tries to divide debt, they may think that taking the total and then assigning responsibility for payment of debts to each person until all totals are equal is a fair way to allocate the debt.

There may be several problems that can arise from this agreement. Primarily, the issue is that creditors assigned a credit allowance to both spouses. Let's say there is a credit card that is only in one party's name but the other party agrees to pay the debt. While the parties may have an agreement, the creditor is under no obligation to honor this new repayment plan.

This means that your name could still be associated with a debt your ex has agreed to pay. If he or she falls behind on payments or begins heavily using the card, it could end up costing you in terms of your credit score, and you could be responsible for repayment in order to protect yourself from creditors.

If you don't want to simply use the sale of some of your assets to pay off the debt before dividing the money from those assets, you could have your ex transfer the balance to a new credit card in only his or her name and close the old card.

Marital laws change with the times. It is always a good idea to consult a family law attorney, even when the intention is to stay out of court. Your attorney may be able to better ensure your negotiated settlement will be upheld by the judge issuing the divorce decree.

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
Fax: 916-498-0127
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