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What do you need to know about debt when divorcing in Texas?

Each state has its own laws on the handling of debt and assets during a divorce. Texas law requires that a married couple accept responsibility for each other’s necessaries. It doesn’t matter what your gender is; the law applies to everyone. Because of the community property and doctrine of necessary legalities, you are often financially responsible for your former spouse’s debt even after the divorce. With help from a lawyer, you can protect your finances as much as possible during a divorce in Texas.

Joint debts are still the responsibility of both

Even if you and your former spouse agree that only one person is responsible for paying back a particular debt, if it was a joint debt, the law continues to hold both parties responsible for it after the divorce. This means that if your spouse fails to make a payment, it will impact your credit score as well as theirs. When writing the divorce agreement, you can include a stipulation that both spouses will have access to the account’s history to ensure that the debt is being paid by the person who agreed to pay the debt.

Both spouses are responsible for one’s debt

In Texas, the law considers debt acquired during a marriage as “community debt.” This means that both parties may have liability for the debt even if one of them didn’t know about it. There are various details surrounding Texas’ community debt law, so you should consult with a lawyer to know for certain if you are responsible for the debt.

Ideally, you and your spouse will pay off the debt before divorcing. This is the least stressful option. When this isn’t possible, pay off as much of it as you can before divorcing and have a thorough discussion with your spouse about how to handle the debt. You can consult with a divorce lawyer for additional guidance in writing your divorce agreement in a way that’s fair to both sides.

Although Texas is a community property state, all hope isn’t lost when you’re getting a divorce. It’s sometimes possible to prove a debt or an asset only belongs to one person rather than both. In general, it’s important for residents to understand that the law considers both spouses to have ownership of the debt and wealth they generate during marriage.

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