Dealing with your spouse’s debt

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2021 | Divorce |

One spouse’s debt can lead to severe conflict in marriage as some Texas couples will discover. It might even become a factor leading to divorce. But if the couple does decide to seek a divorce, there might be questions about whose responsibility it is to pay back that debt because you can divorce your spouse but not always their debt. However, there are some ways you can use to try to protect yourself from having to pay debts incurred by your spouse.

Set limits early on

This involves planning, often before or early in the marriage. Drafting a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that clearly establishes the responsibility of individual debt on the spouse who comes into the marriage with it can help you avoid some contentious episodes if the marriage ends in divorce. While this might not protect you completely from your spouse’s debt, it is one way to start.

Protect your assets from creditors

If your spouse is someone who not only came into the marriage with debt but continues to incur it, you might have to think about protecting your assets in case creditors might come after them in payment after divorce. Keep in mind that even if your assets are in accounts that make it hard for creditors to attempt to seize them as payment, not all creditors will be detained in their efforts. Some of the accounts you might keep your assets to protect them include:

  • Life insurance
  • Annuities
  • Some retirement plans
  • Trusts
  • Partnerships or corporations

Make sure you set up the accounts correctly so you can properly protect your assets. As well, if you are establishing separate property during prenups and postnups, make sure that those properties legally reflect that they are separate to avoid unpleasant surprises if the marriage ends in divorce.