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Credit - Debt Division and Divorce
Divorce can have devastating financial consequence. During a marriage, you learn to budget based on a "family" income and on "family" debts. Some of the monthly expenses remain constant like mortgages and car loan payments. After a divorce, that budget changes. Income must now be stretched to cover expenses related to two residences instead of one. This can be very difficult, and if proper planning is not provided, it is not uncommon that a divorce ultimately results in the filing of bankruptcy for each party.
It is a common misconception that a court in a divorce can relieve one party from the financial obligations incurred during the marriage. Although the Court may require one party to pay a joint debt, that ruling does not prevent a creditor from pursuing either party for an unpaid debt. The creditor is not a party to the divorce action. The Court has no authority to modify the terms of the contract that was executed with the creditor.
Even in cases where the parties have an amicable relationship and reach an agreement on the issues, danger lurks. Problems with joint debts are often the result of mistakes and ignorance rather than an intent to harm the other party. As a result, if you aren’t careful to protect your rights as part of your divorce and if you do not place protections into a divorce agreement, your finances may be adversely affected for years.
How can I avoid these difficulties?
Minnesota is a no-fault only state. The divorce petition must state either that the parties have been living separate and apart for 180 days or more or that there is "serious marital discord" with no chance of reconciliation. All fault grounds, such as adultery, cruelty and insanity are no longer recognized in Minnesota.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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