Medical Debts And Divorce
When you and your spouse divorce, you may still be responsible for your spouse's medical debts. Even if you were never sick during your marriage, you may still bear some responsibility for the medical bills. However, the division of medical debts can be complicated and aren't always clear-cut. Read on to learn more about divorce and accrued medical debt and what you can do to lessen your burden during a divorce.
What Medical Debts Are Both Parties Responsible For?
Whether you are responsible for your spouse's debt depends on the marriage laws in your state. The time where you and your spouse acquired the debt is another factor. The majority of states fall into some form of community or non-community property laws. There are also gray areas between the two types. The laws may vary depending on where the debts accrued and where you file for divorce.
Community Property States
If you are in a community property state, you likely share all of your spouse's assets and debts acquired during the marriage. This debt liability includes not only medical debts but also other types of debts. Even if the debt is only in one spouse's name, the other spouse is still liable.
Non-Community Property States
Non-community property states are more complicated. The court may divide the debt more equitably where the spouse with the debt pays it. It may also be divided according to who best can afford to pay the debt. The judge will also decide on your children's medical debts.
How Can One Lessen Their Liability for Spouse's Medical Debt?
Lessening your liability for your spouse's medical debt is easier in a non-community property state. In community property states, the case is pretty solid if the debt occurred during the marriage. However, there are some things you can do.
For instance, you can lessen your liability for your spouse's debt in a community property state with a written agreement. If you have a pre- or post-nuptial agreement in writing that specifically mentions this issue, then you may not be liable for the debt. A judge will look at the agreement and make a decision. You will also not be liable for medical debt that happened before your marriage or after your divorce.
Debt in divorce is complicated. If you are in a community property state, you will likely be responsible for your spouse's debts. If you don't live in a community property state, your division of assets and debts is more complicated. A good attorney can help you navigate the process and prepare for the judge's decision. Therefore, talk to a divorce attorney to represent your interests in a divorce. A company like Thompson Salinas Londergan, LLP can provide more information.