Nancy L. Sponseller

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How Debt Is Handled In Ohio Divorces

On behalf of Law Office of Nancy L. Sponseller posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2014.

When a couple gets divorced in Ohio, the court has to divide the marital assets as well as the couple’s debts. In an equitable division state such as Ohio, debt is left with the spouse who owns it in most circumstances. In general, debts incurred before the marriage stay with the person who took out the obligation. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

Joint debt is always divided in divorce. When a couple signs up for a joint credit card, purchases a home with the mortgage in both of their names or buys an automobile together, they are both responsible for the debt. By consolidating debt that one spouse held prior to the marriage onto a joint credit card or loan with both spouses as signers, the bill becomes a marital debt.

Another factor the courts consider is how the debt was obtained. If the party whose name was on the account used the credit for personal purchases, they remain responsible for repayment of the debt. However, if the debt was incurred while taking care of the household, it may become a joint debt regardless of whose name is on the bill. Household debts include mortgage or rent payments, food, clothing and education for the children.

Signing an agreement to take responsibility for an account can make a person legally liable for the charges whether or not they ever use the credit card. When a couple with separate and joint debt gets divorced, an attorney may help a client determine which charges and other debts they should be liable for after the divorce is final. The attorney may also help a client negotiate a divorce settlement that includes provisions dealing with the division of assets and debts.

Source: The Nest, “Do You Take Your Spouse’s Debt at Marriage?“, John Csiszar, September 05, 2014