Avoiding Surprise Debt

Obviously, both husband and wife are expected to meet any financial obligations taken on during a marriage. And, naturally, after a divorce is finalized, neither is responsible for the other's debts after that time. However, during the period known as separation, things can tend to be a bit more complicated. As a rule of thumb, debts incurred after the separation date are the responsibility of the party that generated such. However, the one notable exception would be those debts created by what are known as "family necessities". In other words, one spouse may run up a tab for things such as food, clothing, shelter, or medical care and may rightfully expect the other spouse to assume a portion of that obligation. Children by nature tend to create many of these family necessities. In the eyes of a court of law, it is these types of obligations that are of paramount importance.

It is also important to be aware that the general rule pertaining to separation period debt is not necessarily written in stone. It is possible and there have been many instances where a creditor will attempt to collect from one spouse an outstanding bill accumulated by the other during the separation period. Also, derogatory credit marks accumulated by one spouse may be indeed transferred to the other's credit standing, often without that spouse's knowledge. It is for this reason alone that it is never unwise to strongly consider the closing of all credit cards, etc., just after the decision to split is reached.



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Suggested Reading
The Property Division Handbook The Property Division Handbook
This book will explain in detail the property distribution aspect of divorce and separation. It will focus on the rights each spouse has under certain laws, situations, and circumstances, and how the division of the property will be decided by the court or through negotiation.

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