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How do you divide debt during divorce?

Louisiana is a community property state, which means that all community property is split evenly upon divorce. If you are wealthy and have many assets, this can be a good thing, because you and your spouse split your assets fairly and move on. If you're struggling with massive debts, however, this can be extremely frustrating.

One of the problems some people run into is finding out that one spouse ran up debt without the other knowing it. By law, Louisiana would require that debt be split down the middle. For example, if your spouse spends $25,000 that you don't know about, you could end up on the hook for $12,500.

A law known as the Doctrine of Necessities may make it an obligation for you to pay your spouse's debts, even if you didn't know that they existed. However, if separate property is used to resolve a community debt, then you may be able to get reimbursed. So, if you choose to pay down the debt before filing for divorce with the use of a separate inheritance, you may be able to ask for a reimbursement of those funds during a divorce. This is something to discuss with your attorney directly prior to making payments on the marital debt.

Marital and shared debts can be a major problem during divorce, and they're something you'll have to consider carefully. With the right information and documentation, there might be a possibility of removing your liability, but you will need to bring your case to your attorney and look at the specifics to see which laws apply to you.

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