How debts are split in a divorce

In a Texas divorce, the couple's debts will be divided along with their marital property. Marital debt in general includes only those obligations that were acquired by one or both partners during the marriage, and not any debt that was owed by either partner prior to the marriage. The type of debt that is owed by spouses can effect how a court is likely to determine the division.

Credit card debts are typically split depending on whether accounts are single or joint. If both names appear on the account, both parties will be expected to pay off the debt subsequent to divorce, while each party is likely to take debt in his or her name. If the spouses have a mortgage as part of the marital property, the house can be sold and the remaining proceeds divided up between them. Another option is for one spouse to "buy out" the other one by paying that spouse his or her share of equity and taking over the payments.

Medical debts are divided up differently depending on whether or not the divorce occurs in a community property state. Texas is a community property state, meaning that these types of marital debts are likely to be split 50/50, regardless of which spouse acquired them. Courts in other states tend to look at equitable principles, such as whether the couple was living together at the time the debt was acquired.

For a person going through a divorce, a family law attorney may be able to help by negotiating a comprehensive settlement agreement that can include property and debt division provisions along with other issues. It can often be best to settle the case outside of court, because a judge may come to a decision that neither party is happy with.