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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Divorce planning must take loan debts into consideration

Texas residents are probably aware that as a marriage ends and divorce proceedings begin, both parties will have to begin the process of separating what used to be one household into two. While it may not be as difficult to determine who gets certain physical property, such as furniture, personal clothing items, or vehicles, splitting things like existing debt may be a bit more tricky. Laws put in place to standardize divorce planning vary from state to state. 

Texas is what is known as a community property state. In many states, a spouse is not held responsible for the personal debt of the other spouse, such as a student loan or credit card in one spouse's name only, even if the debt was incurred during the marriage. On the contrary, in community property states like Texas both parties are typically responsible for any debt incurred by one or both spouses during the period of the marriage. 

In Texas divorce proceedings, courts often split things like credit card debt, loans or vehicle liens right down the middle. Even if one spouse had previously taken sole responsibility for repayment of the debt previously, Texas laws aim to give each spouse an equal share of any community property, money or debt as the marriage is dissolved. Since the process of divorce can often be stressful anyway, discussing things like debt and unpaid bills can quickly take a toll. 

When a couple enters the stage of divorce planning, it may seem a daunting task to wade through years of bills, bank ledgers and household items. On many occasions, it can be helpful for each individual to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney. An attorney is typically up to date on applicable laws that are specific to divorcing parties, and can help people understand what assets they are entitled to and what debt they may be responsible for. 

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