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Missouri divorcing spouses should be wary of marital debts

Many Missouri couples know that property and assets in a divorce are divided based on marital and individual designations. Many people are also aware that debts are divided between divorcing spouses during the property division process. However, most people may not know that even if a divorce decree designates which spouse pays a specific debt, creditors will only honor the person who initially signed the agreement..

When dividing property and assets or debts, full disclosure is crucial. A divorcing spouse does not want to be left in the dark when it comes to debts. Both spouses should create a detailed list of amounts owed, account numbers and which spouse is responsible for certain debts. Obtaining a credit report could also help.

One possible stressful situation is when a spouse refuses to pay his or her share of a debt. This refusal may even come after a divorce decree has already divided responsibility to pay debt. To prevent this, a spouse should consider an indemnity clause during property division. Similarly, a decree should have a refinancing provision that includes the amount of time a spouse has to make payments and possible consequences if payments are not made on time.

Especially in an acrimonious divorce, a spouse may also hide assets during the divorce process. In addition to undisclosed debts, a divorcing spouse should also be wary of hidden assets, understated income and secret bank accounts as well. A divorcing spouse may seek the guidance of a family law professional whose experience with hidden asset cases can provide a sharp eye for finding missing assets.

Source: The Huffington Post, "What Your Divorce Attorney Won't Tell You About Marital Debt," Cathy Meyer, Mar. 2, 2014

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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