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Community Property

Whenever two people get divorced, they have to divide all of their debts and assets. Debt and property acquired after marriage is community property. It belongs 50/50 to each of the parties. If the property or debt was acquired after separation or before marriage, then it is generally separate property, even if there was no divorce filed. One exception is retirement benefits earned during marriage.  A good family law lawyer will make sure you get all of the assets you are entitled to.

Both parties are liable for the community debts acquired after marriage and before separation. A debt that was brought into the marriage will remain separate debt. Generally, you aren't liable for debts incurred by your spouse after you separated. You are liable to your creditors for debts that are in both names even after separation. Furthermore, if the debt is just in your spouse's name and the person who extended credit knew you were married and had no knowledge of your separation, you can still be held liable for that debt. That's why it is a good idea to close all of your credit accounts. Simply taking your name off the accounts isn't enough.  Our family law lawyers have the ability to hire asset investigation firms that can find hidden assets that your spouse might be hiding.

If you were liable for the debt when it was incurred, then you will always owe the creditor, regardless of what the court orders. That means that court orders regarding who must pay the debt are only effective between the parties, not the creditors. The people you owe can continue to collect from you. The creditor can repossess your property or garnish your wages after they get a judgment. If you are worried that your spouse won't pay their portion of their community debt, then it's best to use the community assets to pay down as much debt as possible. Or, both parties could get a new loan after separation and pay down their debts.

Our experienced family law attorneys in Stockton and Modesto are standing by ready to help you now!

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