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Philadelphia Family Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > Are You Putting Off Marriage To Avoid Your Partner’s Debt?

Are You Putting Off Marriage To Avoid Your Partner’s Debt?


A recent poll revealed that many Americans are putting off marriage to avoid inheriting their partner’s debt. In the same study, 54% of individuals reported that a partner in serious debt is a good reason to consider divorce.

While the study indicated that debt is a factor, the question may revolve around how the debt was acquired and further, how funds are being used in light of that debt. Squabbles over money occur between partners all the time, but if spending habits need to be curbed, then every expenditure needs to be judged. Further, debt means you need to forestall your dreams, miss out on fun activities, or reconsider purchasing a home.

Should I worry about inheriting my partner’s debt? 

Your partner’s personal property and debts do not automatically become your problem once you tie the knot. That is a myth. The debts are the sole liability of your partner. However, your partner’s debts are going to factor into their finances. Since nearly everyone accrues debt by the time they’re married, it can be less about the debt itself than what the debt forbodes. At any rate, finding a partner without debt in this economy is going to be tough.

One of the biggest risk factors surrounding divorce, however, is infidelity. While marital infidelity remains an issue, any form of infidelity, including financial infidelity can destroy a relationship. Partners need to absolutely trust one another and when one individual is hiding their activities from the marriage, it tends to have a very destructive impact. It just so happens that partners who are in debt tend to hide comfort purchases from their partner to avoid scrutiny. Meanwhile, the other partner feels like they’re making sacrifices for the relationship that their partner is unwilling to make.

Meanwhile, hiding debts and overstating income remain a problem in relationships.

How debts work in marriage 

The same way that your partner’s assets don’t automatically become your assets, your partner’s debt does not automatically become the marriage’s problem once you tie the knot. This is true even in community property states. If you have an asset prior to a marriage that accrues value during the marriage, then the accrued value becomes a part of the marital estate. However, the interest on your partner’s student loans will never become your personal liability as a spouse. It will always remain attached to your partner’s estate.

Debts accrued during the marriage, however, are a part of the marital estate. During divorce, the marital estate is divided roughly in half. But also, the debts attached to the marital estate become the liabilities of each partner. So, the debts, like the assets, are split in half so long as they were accrued during the marriage. Debts accrued prior to the marriage are not your problem!

Talk to a Philadelphia Divorce Attorney Today 

If you are considering divorce, the Philadelphia divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane at 215-918-9453 and we can discuss your options today.



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