debt

FAQs: Debts in a Texas Divorce 1


When you are going through a divorce, you will surely not just be dealing with the division of your marital properties – you might have to deal with debts in a Texas divorce too.

The rule that applies to properties applies to debts in a Texas divorce too. The ones that have accumulated during the span of your marriage will have to be shared between you and your spouse.

On the other hand, those that you have acquired before your marriage you will have to bear responsibility by yourself because it is considered separate property.

Both spouses will not be automatically held liable for the debts that incurred during the marriage. During the divorce process, the judge will have to determine who is liable for which debts.

There are cases when both of you will be liable for the debt though. This is referred to as ‘joint liability’ and often, it applies when the debt was made in order to pay for the marital home.

Determining Liability for Debts in a Texas Divorce

Just like how you will have to determine the details of how your marital properties will have to be divided, you will need to do the same for your debts in a Texas divorce.

As mentioned above, debts will have to be categorized as community property or separate property. Community property is everything that you have achieved and incurred together during the duration of your marriage and separate property are properties and liabilities that is yours alone, or your spouse’s alone.

The court will also consider the intent for the debts in a Texas divorce. This is basically the reason why you took a loan at the time that you did. There are loans that are taken to purchase the family home, for instance.

For that, it is highly likely that the court will decide that the liability will be divided equally between the two of you. In cases where you took out a loan to fix a house that your spouse has owned before the marriage, there is a big possibility that your spouse will be held responsible for that debt. That is because the intent of that debt is to improve a separate property.

Credit Card Debts in a Texas Divorce

Credit card debts usually play a huge role in debts that need to be dealt with in a divorce. It can sometimes be complicated and difficult to handle.

First, when you open a credit card account, there is a contract that you will need to sign. It consists all the details for your account, including your rights and obligations.

In some cases, one of you can be the account holder and the other spouse can be an authorized user. In others, both of you can be account holders. The thing is, the authorized user is often not held liable for the debts that are associated with the credit card account.

If you are an authorized user, despite advantages that might tempt you, it would still be wiser not to seek liability for the credit card debt. If you are the account holder, you can choose to remove your spouse as an authorized user so that additional purchases using the account will no longer be made.

It is easy to point out who is the account holder for the credit card. You or your attorney can request a copy of the contract from the credit card company easily.

Diving Debts and Liability

The most important thing about debts in a Texas divorce lies in determining liability for each debt. Once it is determined, the debt can then be divided properly.

It would be best to avoid making a spouse pay for a debt that he or she is not liable for. If you let this happen it is likely that your spouse will not be motivated to pay the debt and you will also be affected by it. It will have a huge impact on your credit score.

You might even have to go back to court and request the court to order your ex-spouse to pay up for that debt while your credit score continues to drop.

Credit card companies won’t care about what your divorce decree says. It just wants you to pay up. As long as your name is associated with the account, your credit score will always be threatened. It would be best to honestly claim the debts that you are legally liable for to protect your credit score and your future.

You can always count on the assistance of a family attorney to help you out with the complicated aspects of your divorce and debts. A good attorney will be able to advise you wisely about the moves that would benefit you the most in the future.

For sure, if your attorney is a good one, he or she won’t ask you to dump debts you are personally responsible for to your spouse either!

The following two tabs change content below.
Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas.

Leave a Reply