Resolving Debt When You Divorce


When people consider the prospect of divorce, there is a natural focus on what is going to happen with children, with valuable property, and with alimony and child support. While debt is about as pleasant to think about as taxes, it represents another critical element that must be resolved when a marriage ends. Sadly, creditors are interested in getting their money, not in the personal lives of debtors. Debt does not go away and banks to not step aside just because you are getting divorced.

Separate Debt Remains Separate

In what should come as a relief to some, a spouse is not responsible for the separate debt of the other spouse.

Under the laws that govern the rights and obligations of marriage, “neither the separate property of a spouse nor the spouse’s share of the community property is liable for the debts of the other spouse contracted before the marriage.” So if a spouse carried loans and massive credit card debts before the marriage, the other spouse should not be held responsible for those debts when the marriage ends.

Spouses are Equally Responsible for Marital Debt

Marital debt is all debt acquired during a marriage. Nevada is a community property state, meaning all marital property is equally owned and all marital debt equally owed by each spouse. This is even true for debt acquired during a marriage that just one spouse benefitted from. However, if debt was inappropriately incurred during marriage, the court may determine that it constitutes “marital waste”.

Marital debt typically includes mortgages, secured and unsecured loans, credit card debt, and medical expenses. The fair market value of community property and debt is tallied by the court and split evenly between the couple upon the dissolution of their marriage. When distributing property and debt, spouses and courts will allocate specific property and debt to each spouse rather than splitting each property and debt down the middle—thus evening out what each spouse walks away with.

Let Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. Assist You

If you are approaching the end of your marriage, or if your spouse is seeking a divorce, you need to speak with a family law attorney. Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. is a full service law firm that caters to all the legal needs of individuals. Our attorneys have over a century of combined legal experience and pride ourselves in providing high-quality, client-focused family law representation. You deserve an attorney who cares and will fight for your interest. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule a consultation or contact our office through our website.

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