To some degree, debt is part of everyday life for most people in Michigan. Few residents can afford to buy a house or even a car without taking out a loan to pay for it. People commonly carry other forms of debt as well like credit cards, medical bills and more. When a couple gets a divorce, they must not only figure out how to split up their marital assets but also their marital debt. 

In some cases, defining which spouse should pay which debt may be relatively clear. For example, SoFi explains that when a secured debt is tied to an asset like a vehicle, the debt and asset tend to be assigned to the same spouse. Determining responsibility for unsecured debts requires careful examination of the couple’s estate. 

U.S. News and World Report indicates that one person might even be required to pay a debt in the other person’s name if the money was used to benefit the couple or family. The process of assigning debt responsibility in a divorce requires parties to agree on a date after which joint debt no longer accrued, such as the official date of separation. 

Couples should know that regardless of what a divorce decree outlines, creditors may always consider the people named on an account to be liable for the debt. For this reason, spouses should try to pay off all joint debt before completing their divorces. Failure to do so may result in one person being pursued by creditors for a debt their former spouse was supposed to have paid.