Paying Off Debt Prior To Filing For Divorce
Managing debt is a daily conversation for many American families. While some choose to live debt free, it is common for debts to pile up. According to one report, married couples in the U.S. typically have over $100,000 in debt. Of course, for some couples this figure is far higher. When paying off the debt is possible, doing so may lead to a smoother divorce process.
If you and your spouse are moving toward divorce, your assets and debts will be part of the discussion. In the state of Pennsylvania, the law does allow for the individuals divorcing to distribute their own debt if they choose to, but agreements can be tricky and creditors need to be notified correctly or else both names will remain on the debt. In order to be confident your debts are being handled properly, talk to a Bucks County family attorney.
A Divorce Can Be a New Beginning
When a marriage has been difficult for an extended period of time, getting divorce can be a new beginning for both individuals. Starting your new life with little to no marriage debt can be liberating, which is why paying down debt or paying off debt prior to filing divorce is often advised.
Of course there are situations in which paying off debt is not an option. If this is true for you, recognize that dividing debts can be complicated and doing so can extend divorce timelines for some. This is particularly true if you and your spouse are not in agreement about how assets and debts will be divided and there is little willingness to compromise.
Because the reality is that creditors are not interested in who is divorced or why. If a name is on a loan, the creditor will view that person as responsible for debt repayment. When your personal credit history is damaged, it can take years to repair.
Some steps you can take to protect your credit:
- Assess your accounts and identify which are joint accounts and which are solely in your name.
- Pay off joint credit card accounts and close them if you can. If not, remove your spouse’s name from the accounts.
- Similarly, if authorized user access is connected to your accounts, remove your spouse’s access.
- When one person agrees to assume debts, have those debts moved into an individual account, in their name.
Legal Representation Can Help
Every person and situation is unique. You have likely heard about the asset and debt divisions when friends or family members divorced and are wondering if what they experienced is an option for you. The answer is that it depends. Having legal representation means you have a professional advocating for your interests. A Bucks County family attorney will work with you and develop a strategy to secure your top priorities.
Will you be saddled with the debts of your marriage? The family law attorneys at Kardos, Rickles & Hand help to untangle complicated matters and inform you of your options. Our dedicated legal team understands the finer points of family law. There are opportunities to create the life you want. Schedule your free consultation today, call 215-968-6602.