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How is Debt Divided in a Virginia Divorce?

Couple sitting with lawyer.

What Happens to Debt During Divorce

There are many uncertainties surrounding finances for couples who are going through a divorce. You may be questioning your attorney about how you can avoid taking on your spouse’s debt, or maybe you want your spouse to help pay off your debt.

In Virginia, debt is divided by equitable distribution. This means the court divides debts the same way assets are divided and categorizes the debt as marital or separate property.

Marital Debt

The debt you have during your marriage is called marital debt, which falls under marital property. When you and your spouse purchase anything during the marriage and still owe money for it, you would both be responsible for paying it back.

If you made a purchase for the benefit of your family, that would be marital debt. However, if you made a purchase for personal reasons that didn’t benefit your family, then that would be your own, separate debt. For example, if your spouse purchased a boat that you didn’t know about and used it for personal reasons or any reason unrelated to your family, they would be solely responsible for paying that debt back.

Separate Debt

If you or your spouse had debt before you were married, that would be categorized as a separate debt. The individual purchases that your spouse made and purchased using funds from a separate account or credit card is debt that they would be responsible for paying back without your help. For example, if your spouse owed student loans, they would be responsible for making the payments without your help after a divorce.

If you and your spouse are separated and live apart, any debt they take on could be considered their sole responsibility by the court. An example of this would be credit card debt or purchasing a new car.

Contact a Virginia Beach Attorney

Dividing property can lead to extensive issues and disagreements by both parties in a divorce. You can rely on attorneys from Bush & Taylor, P.C. to see you through the process.


Call us today at (757) 926-0078 to schedule a consultation.

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