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Dealing with debt during divorce

One of the most frustrating aspects of a divorce is the distribution of a couple's assets and liabilities. Unfortunately, some debts may not be discovered until the couple is in the middle of divorce proceedings. Texas couples may struggle a little more with this issue because they reside in a community property state.

Nine other states have community property laws that determine how property and debt should be distributed during the divorce process. In these states, spouses are generally found to be liable for community debt. The court presumes that both parties are liable for the debt unless a spouse can prove by clear and convincing evidence that he or she should not be liable for it.

Individuals may want to include an order to one of the spouses to pay off certain debt as part of the divorce decree. However, even if a judge orders a person to pay off certain debt, the other person may still remain on the hook for that specific debt. Creditors do not have to comply with divorce decrees because divorce courts do not have jurisdiction over private party contracts. So even though the court can order a spouse to pay off credit card bills, it has no power to prevent creditors from making collection efforts to pay off the debt.

Dealing with a party that refuses to take responsibility for a debt can be a complex process during a divorce. Affected individuals may want to speak with a Dallas family law attorney to learn about their rights and how the community property status of their state will affect their rights as related to property and debt division.

Source: Fox Business, "Is Wife Liable for Ex's Card Debt?", Sally Herigstad, May 07, 2013

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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Bruce Turner with Bennett, Weston LaJone & Turner, P.C.

Attorney Bruce Turner is located in Dallas and represents people and businesses throughout DFW and the Metroplex, including Denton, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Farmers Branch, Irving, Las Colinas, Corinth, Highland Village, The Colony, Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Garland and Grapevine as well as Collin County, Denton County and Dallas County in Texas.

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