When spouses no longer live together, it can be hard to decide who is responsible for debts. The date the debt was acquired, the type of debt and the state’s laws are all important considerations. Read further to learn about debt assignation during divorce and how a divorce lawyer in Mequon, WI, can help couples arrive at a fair resolution.
The “Necessaries” Doctrine
In common law, one spouse is legally liable for the other’s support. The right can be enforced either by the spouse or by creditors. Some jurisdictions have laws requiring a spouse to take responsibility for family and necessary expenses, even where no debt payment agreement exists. Under the doctrine, necessary items include shelter, food, medical bills and clothing.
In states with community property laws, spouses may be required to use their separate assets to support the other spouse if there aren’t enough community assets to do so. However, these areas often have laws that absolve the supporting spouse of the requirement when spouses do not live together anymore.
If the spouses have a separation agreement, it states who is responsible for each debt. When legal separations occur, the orders and the process are the same as in a divorce decree. Orders can set forth provisions on spousal support, property division and custody matters. When spouses are separated, new debts are considered each spouse’s separate issue.
When family courts determine responsibility for debt, they look at each spouse’s financial history. In jurisdictions with laws on equitable distribution, the disbursement of debts and property may not be perfectly equal. A divorce lawyer in Mequon, WI, such as those in Frakerfamilylaw.com can help their client get a fair share of the marital assets.
Effects on Creditors
Even in cases where a divorce decree or separation agreement assigns debt responsibility to a certain spouse, the statement does not have an effect on creditors because the court has no jurisdiction over a third party. Therefore, creditors can still pursue spouses, making collection attempts that can damage a person’s credit.
Even if the spouse wouldn’t ordinarily be liable for debts, they can become liable through agreement. If a person tells their spouse or a creditor that they will pay a debt, they may form a contract that both spouses and creditors can count on. To know more, click here.
Be the first to like.