Rioles Law Offices - Divorce
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PLEASE NOTE: To protect your safety in response to the threats of COVID-19, we are offering our clients the ability to meet with us via telephone or through video conferencing. Please call our office to discuss your options.

Protecting What Matters Most

What happens to marital debt in a divorce?

| Apr 18, 2021 | Blog, Property Division

Rhode Island residents who are getting ready to undergo divorce are likely concerned with who gets which marital assets. The reality of the situation is that assets are only one part of the battle. You’ll need to also divide up your marital debt in a fair fashion.

What is marital debt?

Marital debt is simply defined as debt that was incurred during the marriage. While you may be under the false assumption that because your spouse was the one who took out a loan that the responsibility for the debt is solely on your soon-to-be-former spouse. The truth is that any debt incurred by the other partner during the marriage is typically considered marital debt and is divisible between both parties during the division of property process of a divorce decree.

What about credit agreements?

While a divorce decree is a legal agreement that helps to separate marital assets and debt, in many cases, it does not supersede existing credit agreements. Just because your spouse is required to pay off your joint credit card account according to your divorce decree doesn’t mean that your name is taken off the account. The credit card company will still hold you legally responsible for the balance of the credit card because the credit card agreement supersedes your divorce decree.

What happens if your former spouse doesn’t pay as agreed?

Unfortunately, your former spouse may lapse on paying for the debts that the divorce decree specified they must. When this happens, it can be damaging to your credit if your name was on the liability. While you can take your former spouse to court, your credit history is usually damaged before that happens.

Going through a divorce brings up many different questions. One of the biggest ones is what happens to the liabilities that both spouses had during the marriage. Marital debt is dispersed between both parties, and each party is expected to fulfill his or her debt obligations after the divorce decree is finalized. If you have questions about or need help navigating your specific divorce decree, consider contacting an attorney.