One of the most unwelcome surprises that a spouse can receive in a Texas divorce is that they may end up liable for the debt that the other spouse incurred. Oftentimes, they learn of this debt after the divorce is finalized, and they cannot do anything about it. Parties to a divorce should take steps to learn about their debt situation and deal with it before they sign the divorce agreement.

The general rule is that the spouse whose name is on the account is the one who must pay the debt. However, not all accounts are in the name of one spouse only. There are joint accounts between the spouses that both spouses are responsible for paying. In addition, one spouse may have co-signed the debt belonging to the other. Even if there is a divorce, they are still the guarantor of the loan and can be held responsible.

Try to take steps beforehand to deal with the issue of debt. This includes ending joint accounts the instant that divorce appears inevitable and trying to pay back collective debt before the end of the marriage. It is best to deal with these issues in the divorce agreement because it may be the last chance for self-protection before possible bills come due. At the very minimum, self-education is best before the divorce is final.

The spouse could benefit from the assistance of a high asset divorce attorney, especially if there is a situation that involves debt. The attorney could include provisions in the agreement regarding debt or could even negotiate a different division of the assets if one party is responsible for debt that their spouse incurred. Do not get taken by surprise by the issue of debt because it can impact credit scores and the ability to start fresh after the divorce.