When going through a divorce, you’ll have many questions and concerns pertaining to property division. Who will get the family home? What happens to retirement accounts? Can you keep your personal belongings?

While all of these questions are important to answer, don’t let them overshadow debt division. This can have just as big of an impact on your future.

Here are some tips for dealing with debt in divorce:

  • Know what you’re up against: You know you have debt, but that’s not good enough. Create a checklist of all your debts, both individual and marital. This ensures that there’s no gray area, thus providing a clear overview of your situation.
  • Take action before you divorce: There are many ways to deal with debt before you actually go through the divorce process. For example, you could work with your soon to be ex-spouse to pay off joint credit card debt, thus giving you one less concern during your divorce. This won’t always work, but it’s something worth your attention.
  • Create a budget: Without a budget for your post-divorce life, you’ll always wonder what’s to come. Conversely, when you create a budget, you’ll have a clear idea of the types of debts you’ll be responsible for in the future. That allows you to plan accordingly, based on your income.
  • Protect your legal rights: For example, if you’re not responsible for a particular liability, such as credit card debt that your spouse brought into the marriage, fight to protect your legal rights by keeping it separate. You shouldn’t have to pay off debt that you didn’t contribute to.

 

Debt division has the potential to complicate any divorce, so make sure you turn your attention to this detail as soon as possible. Proper preparation can go a long way in helping you avoid serious complications that could cost you both time and money.

Once you have a debt division checklist and a clear path forward, you’ll feel more confident in your ability to protect your legal rights. And when you do that, you’re also in better position to hit the ground running once your divorce is finalized.