A Legacy of Justice. A History of Success. Proud to Serve as Clarksville's Attorneys Since 1929

What happens to debt when couples divorce in Tennessee?

When people divorce, they are often very concerned with how the split will affect their financial stability now and in the future. They might think things like, "Who gets the house?" or "Will I lose all my money?" or "I hope I can keep these specific pieces of property." 

While each of these concerns is valid and important, it is also necessary for people to remember that divorce isn't just about splitting up assets. It can also involve splitting up debts. This can make the situation even more troubling, so it may be crucial for people to understand a little about what happens to debt in a Tennessee divorce.

Broadly speaking, debt will be separated much like assets are separated, according to Tennessee equitable distribution laws. This means that it will be divided in a way that the courts deem is equitable or fair. This is not the same as being divided equally. The courts will take into account the entire marital estate and divide the debt in a way that seems fair.

However, not all debt is eligible for distribution. Much like division of assets, debts will only be divided if it considered to be part of the marital estate, or shared by both spouses. This can be a very complicated situation because people can disagree on whether debt is shared or individual. Legal support can be crucial in this situation.

Further, it is important to understand that debt payments need to be paid regularly or consumers can face penalties. This can be difficult to do when people with joint credit accounts separate because they are both still responsible for the account in the eyes of creditors. One person may think the other is making payments or one person may decide to stop paying without telling the other person. It can be very complicated, so you may want to consider talking to creditors to close or change joint credit accounts.

Divorce in and of itself can be a source of great stress. Add in the complications and anxiety of debt and the situation can be overwhelming. However, having the support, guidance and advice of an attorney can make a very difficult experience a little easier.