In 2016 alone, 827,261 people across the United States divorced, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While many people are concerned about dividing assets during a divorce, debt and liabilities can add a host of other family legal issues to consider. Louisiana couples with debt should take steps to find out what happens to their personal loans or liabilities under state family law.
Louisiana is a community property state. This means that all debts and assets acquired during the divorce must be split evenly between the spouses. This includes unpaid balances on credit cards and personal loans, even if they were accrued by a person’s spouse without his or her knowledge. It is a good idea to be as aware as possible of shared finances going into a divorce for this reason.
There are some exceptions to this. For example, if a loan was taken out prior to the marriage, it is likely not the spouse’s joint responsibility. Additionally, those who have prenuptial agreements that agree to a different division of assets and liabilities may have a different ruling. While an ex-spouse may be legally required to pay off half the loan, lenders likely will only go after the person whose name is on the debt for repayment.
If an ex-spouse refuses to pay a debt that is in the other spouse’s name, legal action may be needed. A clear-cut divorce agreement with the debts clearly stated is ideal in these cases. A Louisiana lawyer can help people dealing with family legal issues related to community property and outstanding debt from an ended marriage.