Count Yourself Lucky: Dividing Debt During Divorce

By: E.A. Putman

“The luck of the Irish” is a phrase commonly thought to mean extreme good fortune. It is usually heard around March 17th, the annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, which is today, and coincidentally the day I decided to start The Putman Firm, PLLC. It’s very rare to think of family law litigants as having extreme good fortune unless we are talking about a person who was able to get the marriage annulled because they realized their spouse was a bigamist or a person who obtained proof that their spouse’s net resources was severely undervalued on the Financial Information Sheet.

Happy St. Patrick’s from Your Family Law Attorney whose name happens to be the literary name for Ireland.

When it comes to family law cases, I am a proponent of mediation (it’s required anyway) and I always counsel that the uglier it gets, no one really “wins”. So, consider yourself lucky if you are able to come out emotionally, mentally and financially unscathed after going through the Texas family court system.

A divorce is one of the areas of family law that may contain many moving parts including custody, visitation and child support. If there is property involved, it can get more complicated. Whether it is splitting retirement, keeping the house, receiving alimony or dividing the family business, people want to know, “will I be okay financially?” Unfortunately, sometimes so much emphasis is placed on assets that the debt of a marriage is overlooked.

The tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt from Costco and Home Depot; the gambling problem that saw a second mortgage taken out on the home; the loans used to pay for the costs of living while you both went back to school; the money invested in Gamestop; improvements made to the house that was owned before the marriage; the tax liability. These are real life tales that begs the questions–who is responsible for the debt during a divorce? Should it be split 50/50? Does it matter that the credit card is not in both spouses names?

Texas property division is a complex area of law and as stated above most people focus on the assets and what should be theirs. It’s the debt no one wants. I attended the New Frontiers in Family Law CLE in Denver in 2015 and I remember sitting in a session thinking, “Great coffee, oh crap…property law is detailed.” While I won’t delve into the nuanced details of Texas community property and reimbursements in this post, one thing is certain, count yourself lucky when dividing debt during a divorce if you walk away emotionally, mentally unscathed and debt free.

The Putman Firm, PLLC is a family law litigation firm that handles a wide array of family matters including divorce, custody, visitation, child support, family violence assault cases, protective orders (criminal and civil). If you need assistance in determining the division of assets and debts for your marital property, please do not hesitate to contact us at (281) 501-9033.

Your health and safety is paramount to us during this COVID-19 crisis, but we understand the need for expert advise. Thus, we also offer phone and video consultations through our Your Family Law Attorney portal.

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