When a couple in Texas decides to divorce, they face several challenges, including dividing their assets and debts. The process of dividing debts in a Texas divorce is not straightforward and requires a clear understanding of the state’s laws. Texas is a community property state, meaning most property and debts acquired during the marriage are considered equally owned by both spouses.
Debt incurred during a marriage is part of the marital estate and is subject to division in a divorce. For example, credit card debt, car loans, and mortgages are considered marital debt, and both spouses are responsible for paying back these debts after a divorce.
Separate debt is not part of the marital estate and only belongs to the borrower-spouse. This includes debts incurred before the marriage, such as student loans or personal loans. A prenuptial agreement can specify which debts are separate and community property.
According to Texas Family Code § 7.001, “In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall order a division of the estate of the parties in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage.”
Furthermore, Texas Family Code § 7.002 states, “The court may not award to a spouse any property that was owned or claimed by the other spouse before marriage or was acquired by the other spouse during marriage by gift, devise, or descent.”
Debt Division Options
In Texas, how debts are divided depends on the specific facts of your case, including what the debt was used for, other property being divided, and the income of each spouse.
A process called discovery will be done to answer some of the questions that the court will have regarding the nature of the debt, the total amount of community and separate property, and the income of the parties.
It is best for the parties to attempt to come to an agreement about how they will handle the debts if possible.
Marital Debt and Creditors
A divorce decree may divide debt liability between the spouses, but creditors may not see it that way. For example, if a court orders one spouse to pay off a credit card, but both spouses are still responsible for that debt, the creditor can come after both spouses if the debt is not paid. The same applies to mortgages, and if the spouse responsible for paying off the mortgage fails to make payments, the mortgage company can still seek payment from the other spouse. A lawyer can help you take legal action to ensure that the debts your ex-spouse assumes won’t follow you after your divorce.
Dividing debts in a divorce in Texas can be a complex process. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of the state’s laws and your rights as a spouse. The divorce attorneys at The Blacknall Firm are available to help you strategize dividing assets and debts when going through a divorce. Contact us today for more information.