List and value your debts

We're married. Do we have to divide our property and debts if we separate or divorce?
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List and value your debts

Your debts include your:

  • unpaid bills, including credit card bills
  • student loans
  • lines of credit
  • loans
  • mortgage

You might be the only person who owes a debt. For example, you owe all the money on a credit card that is only in your name. Your partner also owes all the money on debts that are only in their name. This is true unless you have an agreement saying who is responsible for which debts.

You might owe other debts jointly. For example, if you signed a loan agreement together, you're both responsible for repaying the debt. This is true for any two people who sign a loan together, whether or not they're married. Even if you didn't benefit from the loan, you might have to repay it, if your partner doesn't pay.

You need to figure out all of your debts and how much you owed when your relationship ended. This is usually the day that you and your partner separated. If you owe a debt jointly with your partner, you usually consider that each of you owes half when deciding how to divide your property and debts, even though either of you might have to repay the whole debt.

You also have to figure out all of your debts and how much you owed on the day you got married. This is because when you decide if one partner has to pay the other and how much, the property and debts you brought into the marriage are considered in the calculation.

For example, if you had a student loan with $5,000 still owing when you got married, you still have to list the loan and its value when you got married. You have to do this even if you repaid the loan while you were married.

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Reviewed: July 15, 2019

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