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Divorce settlements do more than divide the marital assets

While many people in Trenton may have heard that in a divorce a spouse gets half or his or her spouse's things, that is not entirely true. In reality, divorcing spouses must divide their marital assets, or the property and possessions they have acquired jointly during the span of their marriage, but they must do so equitably. This allows for one spouse to get a greater share of the marital assets than the other spouse when it is fair. Divorce is about more than just dividing the assets, however, it is also about dividing the debt.

And with the increasing number of people carrying debt these days, it is no wonder that learning how to protect against being saddled with an unfair amount of debt following a divorce has become important. One of the best things to do before even filing for a divorce is to root out old credit cards and close them. If the balances are zeroed out, you can close them and prevent a vindictive soon-to-be ex-spouse from ringing up debt.

Another way to avoid getting saddled with an ex's share of the debt is to use any money from the sale of the family home or other assets to pay off any outstanding debt before the divorce is finalized. That way, if the debt is taken care of, a spouse can't refuse to pay his or her share and leave it to his or her ex to take care of.

Of course, there are many former spouses who are able to tackle their respective shares of debt without a problem, but settling debt before the divorce is even finalized may be a good way to prevent a spouse from leaving his or her debt to you in the first place.

Source: Fox Business, "Debt and Divorce: 5 Steps to Make a Clear Credit Split," Dan Papandrea, July 14, 2014

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