When spouses divorce, we often hear about the battle that ensues over marital assets. However, just as spouses must divide their assets and property when dissolving their marriage, so must they also divide their debts. In Tennessee, when possible, family courts assign a debt to the spouse who receives the asset that resulted in the debt. However, dividing debts are not always this straightforward, so continue reading to learn more about debt division in a divorce.
Dividing Debts in a Divorce
Tennessee is an equitable distribution state. Instead of splitting assets and debts down the middle, family courts seek to divide these items in a manner that is most fair to both spouses. Determining which spouse was responsible for certain debts is undoubtedly one of the most complex aspects of debt division. Even if a debt was incurred by one spouse, a judge will examine if it was for the benefit of the entire household or family, which will factor greatly into how it is divided.
To ensure debts are divided fairly, a judge will ask several questions:
- What was the purpose of the incurred debt?
- Which spouse stood to gain from the debt?
- Which spouse incurred the debt?
- Which spouse is most capable of repaying the debt?
After marital debts are divided, it is the responsibility of both spouses to pay off the respective debts assigned to them. Unfortunately, if your former spouse falls behind on payments, the credit card company can still pursue both of you for payments. Under these circumstances, you must take the matter to court again to ensure the order is enforced and your ex pays off the debts assigned.
Dividing marital assets and debt is a complex issue, so do not hesitate to secure skilled legal counsel to ensure your best interests are protected.
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In a divorce, no one wants to be responsible for debts that did not benefit the entire household. To ensure your marital debts are divided as fairly as possible, you need to hire a knowledgeable legal advocate to represent your case. At Casey, Simmons & Bryant, PLLC, our family law team is committed to helping clients navigate some of the most complex and sensitive legal matters. You can rely on us to help you obtain the best results for your case.