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Property division debt discussions should not be delayed

There are two big "Ds" that few Houston residents ever want to navigate: divorce and debt. Frequently, these two issues must be confronted simultaneously amidst the confusion of property division. Often, it is helpful to at least attempt discussing debt with one's spouse before filing for divorce, but, sometimes, conflict makes this nearly impossible. In such cases, family lawyers and financial professionals can prove an invaluable source of information.

One of the most important aspects of divorce and debt is the original credit agreement regarding the debt. Like marital property and community property, debt can either be the responsibility of one spouse or both. If a spouse's name is on a credit card account or a mortgage, their repayment obligations can still stand, despite property division outcomes to the contrary. In other words, a divorce does not automatically alter the initial agreement between debtor and creditor. Thus, it is vitally important to take several sanity-saving steps.

First, perform a review of existing debt and debt obligations. While this is an unpleasant task for many, just knowing what is owed and by whom can get spouses in a rational and productive mindset. Secondly, it is helpful, if possible, to pay off certain debts before actually filing for divorce. This may not be possible for all couples, but even paying-off smaller debts on joint debts can help clear matters up.

Finally, it is also a good option for some to remove themselves from certain joint accounts or joint obligations. There may be other financial and legal consequences for some of these actions, such as removing one's name from a home or car. Discussing these potential moves with a family lawyer is one way to map out the different options and make more empowered decisions about debt.

Source: The Huffington Post, "What your divorce attorney won't tell you about marital debt," Cathy Meyer, Mar. 2, 2014

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

She will take the time to understand your individual needs and develop a comprehensive solution to protect your rights and interests.

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