Debt, much like property, must be divided in a divorce. Although many tend to be focused on splitting assets, dividing debt can sometimes be a much more significant step in the divorce process. Since Oklahoma is an equitable distribution state, debts are divided as fairly as possible. In this context, fair does not necessarily mean equal.
Splitting Up Your Debts
Generally, in an equitable distribution state, both spouses are responsible for marital debt, which includes any debts that either spouse racked up during the marriage. However, spouses may also have separate debts, which typically refers to anything incurred before the marriage. Even during a divorce, separate debts remain the sole obligation of the spouse who incurred them.
In some cases, it is possible for certain debts incurred during the marriage to be considered separate. For example, if your spouse had an affair and spent a substantial amount of money on hotel rooms or gits, those debts would be treated as wasteful dissipation for which your spouse would be responsible. Other examples of wasteful dissipation include gambling debts or spending vast sums of money on recreational drugs and alcohol.
After your divorce is finalized and debts have been divided, it is important that both spouses fulfill their obligations. Creditors are not bound by the terms of a divorce judgment, so if your spouse stops making payments on a jointly held credit card, they will likely come to you for payments. Moreover, your credit rating will take a hit. To avoid these potential complications, if possible, it would be best to try to settle your debts before embarking on the divorce process. Doing so will give both you and your spouse peace of mind that you will never have to deal with more debt-related headaches later on down the road if one of you fails to make payments.
Speak to an Experienced Divorce Attorney About Your Case Today!
If you are considering putting an end to your marriage, the skilled legal team at Simmons & Associates can provide the knowledgeable guidance and advice you need to obtain the best results and protect your interests. We will help ensure that your debts and assets are divided fairly, so you can start the next chapter of your life on a positive note.
Reach out to our law office today at (405) 591-2284 to schedule an initial consultation and get started on your case!