Published on July 8, 2017 on behalf of Wade Grimes Friedman Meinken & Leischner PLLC

When considering the repercussions of a divorce, most Virginia spouses will focus on the financial outcomes that will follow the dissolution of a marriage. This is understandable, as the monetary changes that accompany the division of marital property will shape the lives of both spouses for many years to come. When thinking about property division, it is important to understand the role that debt plays in this process.

Just as assets are divided between divorcing spouses, debt is also split up and handed out to both sides within a divorce. One of the most important parts of preparing for a divorce is to gather information on all debts held by both spouses. This information can be obtained by asking for balance summaries on all current debts. Spouses should also get copies of their credit reports and those of their partner.

In some cases, one spouse has accrued debts that the other party is unaware of. This can change the course of property division, as both spouses will be held responsible for existing levels of debt. In cases in which certain debts are held by only one spouse, it is possible to negotiate a property division strategy in which that spouse retains his or her own individual debt.

Another important move in the early stages of a Virginia divorce is to stop amassing more debt. Spouses should also take steps to rebuild their credit scores and to establish credit in their own name as the divorce moves forward. By understanding the role that debt plays in the division of marital property, spouses are better able to reach a property division settlement that meets their unique financial needs.

Source: The Courier, “Financial items to consider during a divorce“, June 21, 2014