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Don’t forget division of debt when thinking about divorce

Though it may seem odd to some, one of your goals for the year may be to end your unhappy marriage. Perhaps past years’ goals have related to working through your marital problems, going to counseling, communicating better or other general ways to work on your relationship. Unfortunately, your marital problems only continued, and now, you feel the time has come to move on.

Getting a divorce is not an easy process to begin or go through, and you will have a lot on your plate when it comes to doing what is best for you and your future. Though you may already have certain concerns in mind, particularly about property division, it is important that you do not focus solely on the division of assets. You also need to keep your personal and marital debt in mind.

The court divides debt too

It is essential to think about debt when considering assets during divorce. You may think that you have certain items you want to keep, but if you do not consider the possibility of being on the hook for debts associated with those items or how your share of the debt will affect your finances overall, you may not have the ability to afford assets that you initially thought you could. Some debts you may want to consider include the following:

  • Mortgage debt: You may want to keep the house after your divorce, but that would mean taking on the remaining mortgage debt, which you may not be able to pay with one income. Instead, you may want to consider selling the house and splitting the proceeds to avoid the debt.
  • Credit card debt: If you and your spouse have joint credit cards, you both have an obligation to pay that debt. The court could split the debt between you, or negotiations could result in one person taking the remaining debt in exchange for another incentive.
  • Medical debt: You could both be on the line for one person’s medical bills if the bills came about during the course of the marriage. However, if the debt existed before the marriage, the court may consider it separate debt.

Just like property, debt can come in marital and separate categories. Essentially, any debt accrued during the course of the marriage could be the responsibility of both parties, while any debt accumulated before the marriage would likely remain separate.

Addressing debt effectively

Because debt of any kind can throw future financial planning off track, it is crucial that you consider how possible debt division outcomes could affect you and how you could work toward avoiding an unnecessary amount of debt as an outcome of your divorce. Fortunately, working with an experienced Minnesota attorney could help you strategize and find your best options.