Community Property Applies to Debt in Texas Divorces

When going through a divorce people often wonder what is next in their personal lives. Before beginning a new life, however, divorcing spouses must conclude the old one. This includes the division of marital property. When going through a divorce that has a high net worth, it is especially important to understand financial issues and how assets and debts could be divided between the parties.

Rights and responsibilities for assets and debts can be different depending on the state where the couple lives. Texas, for example, has community property rules. This means that if one spouse incurs debt during a marriage, both parties are responsible for that debt during the marriage. That means that if a spouse has debts to pay and the couple is still legally married, the person owed the debt can go as far as garnishing both spouses’ paychecks to get the money. However, after the marriage, the debt is owed only by the spouse who incurred it. The exception to this rule is where the debt was incurred to pay for home necessities or used out of a joint account.

If living in a community property state like Texas, significant debts incurred by a spouse could substantially affect the divorce proceedings.

Remember, debts can be as important as assets in divorce proceedings. This is why it is important for each spouse to examine their own finances, and those of the other person, very carefully when going through a divorce. This can help ensure that a person is not on the hook for paying their ex-spouses debts.

Source:, “Are you responsible for your partner’s debts,” July 1, 2014

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