Divorce and Debt

The debts that a couple incurs during the course of their marriage are usually considered to be joint debts. This means that both spouses are legally responsible for them. However, when a couple divorces, the state's property division laws dictate how the responsibility for marital debts will be allocated. Usually, this results in the debts being divided equally or equitably (fairly, though not in half), especially when they are incurred for necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. If a couple has a great deal of debts as well as a great deal of property, the spouse who is better able to pay the debts may be ordered to assume the payments and also receive a larger share of the property.