It is not uncommon for couples to take on debt together during their marriage. These debts are referred to as marital debt. It could be a mortgage, an auto loan or even joint credit cards. When you go separate ways, these debts have to be repaid as per the terms you agreed with the lender.
First, it is necessary to understand how marital debts are shared out when a couple decides to divorce. Without a valid and legally binding agreement like a prenup that specifies how to split these debts, the state laws will determine how everything will proceed.
Massachusetts is an equitable distribution state, and the courts will consider several factors when apportioning marital debt. They include the length of the marriage, the age, health, needs and obligations of each spouse, among others. You may not end up with equal shares of the marital debt, but there is more to it.
The court’s judgment does not release you from liability
You remain legally answerable to debts you co-signed or jointly took with your spouse. It means that creditors can still come after you if your ex defaults on a debt with your name on it, even if you are not responsible for it as per the court’s decree.
You can prevent this by repaying such debts before things get there or discussing with the lender to release you from liability for the debt.
Protecting your interests during and after divorce
You do not want to bear more financial burden than necessary or get a negative credit rating due to debts you are not responsible for long after your divorce. However, it may be the case if you do not take the proper steps.
It helps to learn more about what you can do to protect your financial interests before and after the divorce. Most importantly, consider seeking professional guidance if you have questions or concerns about how things work when dividing property and debt during your divorce.