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Splitting debt during a Massachusetts divorce

A divorce can be an emotional time for anyone going through it. However, it is worthwhile to understand what happens to marital debt after the divorce is finalized. In some cases, each spouse may be responsible for an outstanding balance regardless of who is required to pay it. For example, if a couple had a joint credit card, the credit card company can ask either person listed as a cardholder for repayment.

An individual's responsibility to pay a debt accrued during a marriage may depend on where that person lives. In community property states, medical debt may be divided equally regardless of why the debt exists as long as the money was used for a necessary procedure. However, it is possible that the other spouse may be responsible for a larger share of the debt if it impacts a parent's ability to raise a child.

The marital home is often assigned to the spouse who has been given physical custody of the children or, if that is not a factor, who makes the most money. In such a case, that party would also be responsible for the mortgage absent a contrary agreement. In some cases, the couple may decide to sell the house and split the proceeds from that sale in an equitable manner. In the event that one person is awarded the home, he or she may need to buy out the other spouse as part of the divorce settlement.

A person who is contemplating a divorce may wish to talk to an attorney who has experience in family law matters. In some circumstances, it may be possible for legal counsel to negotiate a property division settlement agreement that can be approved by the court and made a part of the final divorce decree.

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