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Who is responsible for paying debt after a divorce?

When couples decide to divorce, they understand the assets accumulated throughout the marriage will need to be divided. Generally, both parties seek homeownership and other real estate holdings, high-value assets, and child custody during this process. However, when it comes to debt, couples are usually slow to take responsibility.

No matter who is responsible for accumulating the debt in a marriage, both parties can be held accountable. Under Massachusetts divorce law, marital property is divided by the court “equitably.” This process seeks to divide property fairly, not necessarily equally.

Two categories are used to divide marital property, which includes debt, separate property and marital property. Any debt accumulated prior to the marriage may be considered individual property and the sole responsibility of the owning spouse.

Other debt, such as shared credit debt or outstanding loan balances, may be considered marital property. Even if only one spouse is responsible for accumulating such debts, both parties may be responsible for payment.

When dividing marital debt, the courts can assign debt according to which party can handle the burden of debts. This helps spouses who were not the primary earners avoid the burden of debt they cannot pay.

The final decision for who is responsible for marital debt after divorce will consider several factors, but you need to know that even if you are not responsible for the debt, you may be responsible for paying it.

For guidance on valuing your marital property and navigating martial debt in your divorce, contact our office today. We’re here to help you get a fair settlement when it comes to dividing assets and debts in your divorce.

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