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How is debt divided in a divorce?

When couples decide to divorce, they look at their assets and property to determine how it will be divided. But how does a divorcing couple divide debt incurred while married?

In Kansas, all possessions and interests acquired while married are considered “marital property.” Some states have enacted laws defining property between a couple as “community property,” or property that is equally owned by both parties and must be equally divided in a divorce, but Kansas is not one of them.

The benefit of this statute is that any property, assets or debt you owned before the marriage is yours, and what was owned by your spouse before the marriage is theirs. If your spouse racked up a large amount of debt before you were married, you will not be responsible for it.

The negative is that anything you and your spouse acquired – whether jointly or on your own – during the marriage is considered jointly owned and is split between the two of you in a divorce. That includes debt.

If the divorcing couple cannot come to an agreement about how to split property, assets and debt during a divorce, the court will do it for them using these stipulations. It is not necessarily a 50/50 split in every case – it is what the court deems to be fair and equitable.

Seeking divorce help before the courts step in and decide who gets what, including debt, may deliver a more positive result for both parties and a property division that satisfies everyone’s needs.

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