Loker Law

Am I Responsible for My Divorced Spouse’s Debt in California?

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couple looking at debt before divorce

When you and your spouse divorce, understanding your legal rights and responsibilities is essential. However, one thing many may not consider is that you could be legally obligated to cover your divorced spouse’s debt. Though this may seem confusing and unfair, understanding why this is and what your legal options are is vital to protecting your finances.  If you’re sued for debt by a creditor as a result of your ex-spouse’s spending, you may not know whether or not know what your legal options are. Keep reading to learn how a California debt collection defense attorney can help you explore your options.

How Can I Be Responsible for My Spouse’s Debt?

When a spouse incurs debt throughout the length of their marriage, it constitutes community property. In California, when couples divorce, their property, assets, and debts are divided between each spouse equally as opposed to equitably. This means a spouse can be legally responsible for the debt of another following a divorce.

However, it is vital to understand that not all debt will be considered marital property. For example, if your spouse purchased a home for the two of you to live in together and reaped the benefits of this shared home, you will be responsible for half of the debt. However, if your spouse incurred debt for separate property, you will likely not be held liable. This can include debt from purchasing big-ticket items like cars or designer clothing you are not using.

What Can I Do to Avoid These Problems?

If sued for debt your spouse has incurred, understanding your options is essential. Most commonly, if the debt falls on your spouse, you’ll likely have to prove that it is separate and not community property. In some instances, this can be easy to do. For example, if your spouse was spending on clothes, you’ll likely be able to prove it is their property. However, if they paid to have a pool installed in the backyard, you may have a more difficult time proving that you did not reap the benefits of the pool and demonstrating that it is separate property.

In the circumstances that you know the debt incurred falls under community property statutes, you still have options. The most important thing you should do when sued for a debt that your spouse incurred is to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Unfortunately, you may not even know the debt exists before you are served, which can come as a shock to many.

When faced with debt you did not incur, the most important thing you must do is contact Loker Law as soon as possible. Our dedicated legal team will examine the outcome of your situation to determine the best course of action. When you’re facing trouble, our debt defense team can help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist.

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