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How is debt handled in a Washington divorce?

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2022 | Marital Property Division

When filing for a divorce in Washington, one of your main concerns may be about your property. You likely want to know what you get to keep and what your financial situation will be once the divorce is complete. 

While assets are a huge part of any divorce, you can’t forget about your marital liabilities and debts. These will also impact the outcome of your divorce and your financial situation after the divorce. 

Debt in your divorce

When you file for divorce, your property and assets are divided. The same typically applies to any debt you took on during your marriage. The debt you took on during your marriage is called community debt. This means both spouses are responsible for it — so it has to be divided.

While this is true, there are some exceptions. Debt might stay with one person if it was taken on exclusively for their benefit. Sometimes, courts don’t divide liabilities if you prove it is separate because one person had it before getting married. 

Repayment of marital debt

Once your divorce is final, and your debts are divided, you may think that you are “off the hook” for the debts your ex-spouse is given. However, this may not be the case. If the debt is still in your name and your spouse fails to repay, the debt collectors have the legal right to seek repayment from you. 

You can avoid this by requesting that the debt be refinanced without your name or paid off in full prior to your divorce — even if this means that your spouse may have to take a loan or sell some assets.

Understanding debt and your divorce

Understanding your legal rights and liabilities regarding a Washington divorce is important. This will ensure you understand what you are responsible for.