Debt realities in a divorce
For most people in the U.S., debt is part and parcel of life. It is all but impossible to avoid having some debt even if that is just one car payment but is it common for people to have multiple debts to manage on a regular basis. When a couple in New Jersey faces an impending divorce, figuring out how to divide their debt can be a complicating factor and is one that deserves careful attention to avoid potential financial problems down the road.
As explained by SoFi, one thing that is important for divorcing couples is to identify the date of their official separation. This can often become the date after which any debt is incurred is the separate debt of only one spouse versus part of the marital debt. Dividing debt in a divorce is not as simple as just having responsibility assigned via a divorce decree. This is because the divorce judgment cannot shield one party from future debt collection even if their ex-spouse was named as responsible for the debt in the divorce decree.
According to Money Management International, a creditor looks at the names on the account and can legally pursue repayment from both names if the debt remains jointly named. For this reason, it is recommended that divorcing spouses pay off as much debt as possible before their divorce is final.
If this is not possible, having debt transferred to new accounts in only the names of the people responsible for repaying them going forward is the best way to protect against unwanted debt collection or even credit damage if a former spouse fails to make good on their repayment responsibilities.