Although Texas is a community property state, the laws related to divorce work differently when compared to some other community property states. Debts in most states are divided 50-50 in a divorce, provided these debts were acquired during the course of the marriage. However, Texas makes certain distinctions about debt division.
You should have a knowledgeable Austin divorce attorney by your side to ensure that the marital assets and debts are divided correctly as per the law.
Separate vs Marital Debt in Texas
In a Texas divorce, the marital debts will be divided between both parties, regardless of which spouse acquired the debt during the marriage. However, separate debts that you or the other party may have acquired prior to marriage will not be divided. For instance, if you had a student loan before marriage, it will be your separate debt and will not be part of the divorce-related debt division.
On the other hand, if you have credit card debt that occurred after your marriage, it will be considered as a marital debt. However, the debt liability may not be divided equally between you and the other party during a divorce, depending on specific circumstances. Therefore, it is in your own interest to hire the services of a diligent and committed Austin divorce lawyer to ensure your rights are fully protected.
Indirect vs Direct Debt
In Texas, you do not become automatically responsible for the debts incurred by your spouse, even if it is a marital debt. The court in Texas will go into which spouse incurred a specific debt and for what purpose, and only then determine an equitable division of debt.
For example, if you signed up for a credit card only in your name after marriage, any debt on that card becomes your direct debt – provided you used that debt to buy luxury items for your own sole benefit. On the other hand, if you used that same debt to buy necessities for the household, your spouse becomes responsible for a part of the debt indirectly, even if the debt is solely in your name.
Another exception would be if you incurred a debt on the request of your spouse. For instance, if your spouse is injured in an auto accident and hospitalized, and they ask you to take a new car loan and purchase a vehicle on their behalf. In this case, the court may view you as having acted as the agent of your spouse in this transaction, even though the loan is in your name.
Your spouse would be indirectly responsible for this debt, and the court may divide it between both parties during a divorce, or assign the full debt to your spouse.
Action of Your Creditors in Divorce
Your creditors in a divorce are not exactly bound by the terms of debt division that are a part of your divorce order. If you have a joint debt with your spouse, the creditor could seek payment from both parties, even if the divorce court has ordered your spouse to bear full responsibility for that debt. Choose a good Texas divorce lawyer who understands these nuances of the law related to marital debt division.
Defend Against Post-Divorce Debt With an Austin Divorce Attorney
You have a lot at stake when you go through a divorce. Using an experienced law firm will help you get your fair share in the end.
The attorneys at the Law Office of Willie & Dasher know what is fair in a divorce settlement, so your Austin lifestyle doesn’t have to change dramatically. To request a consultation, call 512-478-0834 or complete our online contact form.