Asset and debt division are topics that people commonly have questions about when going through a divorce. If your spouse currently carries a large amount of debt, for example, you may wonder if you will be responsible for some of that debt.
The short answer is that it depends on when your spouse first accumulated his or her debt.
Courts divide community debts between spouses
According to TexasLawHelp.org, any debts accumulated during the marriage are “community debts.” That means that the courts will divide the debt between you and your spouse, regardless of whose name is on the bill.
Community debt does not necessarily see an equal division between spouses, however. The law states that community debt must see a division that is “just and right.” If you make significantly less money than your spouse, for example, it may not be a just action to leave you responsible for as much of the debt as your spouse.
Separate debts belong to the originating spouse
Separate debt is any liability that originated before the marriage. When it comes to property division, your spouse will keep the whole debt that he or she brought to the marriage because it cannot be divided. There are exceptions to both rules regarding community and separate debts and it is important to reach out to a professional if you have questions.
If you and your spouse can agree on how you would like to divide any debts, the judge will usually approve your request. If you cannot agree, however, it may be a better option for a judge to have the final say.