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What Happens to Debt After Divorce?

One of the parts of the divorce process that can take a long time to resolve is property division. Most people think of property division as the “who gets what” portion of the divorce process; however, not many people realize both assets and debts are divided between the spouses in a divorce.

A married couple can accrue a lot of debt during the course of the marriage, particularly if one spouse is fiscally irresponsible. All debt accumulated during the marriage, including mortgages, car loans, and credit card debts, will be assigned to both spouses during property division.

Iowa is an equitable distribution state, which means the court is required to distribute assets and debts as equitably (fairly) as possible between the spouses, which may not be precisely equal. In determining an equitable division of both property and debt, the court will consider some of the following factors:

  1. Property brought into the marriage by each party
  2. Debt brought into the marriage by each party
  3. Age and health of both spouses
  4. Length of the marriage
  5. Contribution of each individual to the marriage
  6. Earning capacity of each individual
  7. Desirability of awarding the family home
  8. Amount and duration of support payments to either party
  9. Economic circumstances of each party
  10. Tax consequences of each individual
  11. Contribution by one party to the other party’s education

Any inherited property and gifts received by either spouse are not usually divided between the spouses. Likewise, any debts brought into the marriage will likely remain the sole responsibility of the one who accrued them. However, for shared debts, if one spouse declares bankruptcy after the divorce, the other spouse will likely be on the line for paying debts and dealing with creditors.

If you are worried about the substantial debt accrued by your spouse, talk to us about your case. Our skilled Des Moines divorce attorneys have more than a decade of legal experience to offer your case. We can take a look at your circumstances and provide knowledgeable advice about your best course of action. Let us see what we can do for you and your family.

Contact us at (515) 200-7571 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation with us today.

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