Overlooking Marital Debts in California
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In California, community property laws apply to married couples, which means that both spouses are generally responsible for debts incurred during the marriage. It is important to address the division of debts in your settlement to ensure a fair outcome.
Understanding Marital Debts
When discussing marital debts, a common question that arises is whether it is necessary to list them. Many clients often have separate financial accounts, even in both short-term and long-term marriages. They may maintain their own credit cards and income, while mutually contributing to expenses like the mortgage based on their income differences or through a shared fund. Other expenses, such as utilities and personal credit card bills, may be divided between spouses. While these debts may be separate in practice, they are still considered community property under California law.
Some individuals may wish to keep their debts separate from their spouse’s, even if they are technically community property. They may have incurred debts individually, such as on trips with friends or personal expenses. In such cases, the court will not interfere if both spouses agree to keep 100% of their own assets or debts. This allows couples to maintain a sense of ownership and control over their individual financial responsibilities.
1. Are both spouses responsible for debts incurred during the marriage?
Yes, in California, community property laws make both spouses generally responsible for debts incurred during the marriage.
2. Can I keep my debts separate from my spouse’s?
While debts are considered community property, couples can agree to keep their debts separate if they mutually decide to do so.
3. What if I ran up debts individually?
If you incurred debts individually, such as on personal trips or expenses, you can discuss with your spouse and agree to keep those debts separate.
4. Will the court interfere if we want to keep our assets or debts separate?
No, as long as both spouses agree to keep their assets or debts separate, the court will not interfere with your decision.
When it comes to marital debts in California, it is essential to understand the implications of community property laws. While debts incurred during the marriage are generally the responsibility of both spouses, couples have the option to keep their debts separate if they mutually agree. By addressing the division of debts in your settlement, you can ensure a fair and satisfactory outcome that respects both parties’ financial circumstances.