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Divorcing couples must divide assets – and debt

Dividing marital property in a divorce is often a complex – and contentious – issue. It is common for spouses to dispute over who will keep the house, the car and even the dining room table.

However, there is one thing that spouses often overlook during the property division process: their debt.

Spouses must divide debts too

Assets and investments are not the only things you must divide during your divorce. By law, you must also divide your debt. This could include:

  • Mortgage debt;
  • Auto loan debts;
  • Credit card debts;
  • Medical debts; and
  • Even student loans, in some cases.

And according to a study from last year, the average Nevadan has roughly $40,110 in debt. However, in a divorce, you might be held responsible for more than just your debt.

Nevada is a community property state. This means that all the property acquired during the marriage belongs to spouses equally. It also means that spouses are equally responsible for the debts accrued during the marriage – no matter who accrued them.

You must plan ahead

To protect your finances for the next chapter of your life after divorce, it is critical to:

  • Evaluate your financial situation carefully;
  • Calculate your debts, as well as your spouse’s; and
  • Change the name attached to the debt or transfer money.

After all, the lender will expect the person whose name is on the account to pay the debt. If you must divide your debts in a divorce, then you will have to adjust the loan agreement.

Dividing debts and liabilities is often more complex than it seems. It requires great care, so you can avoid potential issues in the future after the divorce. In these cases, it is often helpful to consult an experienced divorce lawyer to ensure you take steps to protect your finances.