Los Angeles, CA family law attorney Dora Larson talks about how debt is divided during a divorce and gives an example of an extenuating circumstance.
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Generally speaking, all debt that’s accumulated during the marriage is community debt, which means each spouse ends up being responsible for 50 percent of it. In situations where a spouse can prove that the other spouse has been committing what’s called waste of community assets, meaning spending the community assets, running up debts in a way that has absolutely no benefit to the community, such as buying illegal drugs or spending money on prostitutes, then there is an argument to be made that that debt is solely one spouse’s responsibility. Whether you’re responsible for your spouse racking up credit card debt ultimately turns on whether you can show that it was reckless and whether it was a waste and that’s a very fact-specific inquiry. Every case is different. It depends what’s been going on in that particular family’s life and ultimately it’s a case that you have to prove to a judge.