Throughout Florida and the rest of the country, a lot of couples have considerable debt. This may include credit cards, car loans, mortgages and student loans. If a couple decides to divorce, this debt will need to be divided along with any marital assets. Therefore, it’s important to divide everything properly to avoid being held responsible for an ex-spouse’s debt.

In most states, including Florida, each spouse is responsible for paying back the debts they incurred before tying the knot. Once the marriage certificate is signed, spouses are generally individually responsible for debts they sign for in their own name and jointly responsible for debts they acquire in both their names. However, community property states hold both spouses liable for all the debts they obtain while married.

In some cases, divorcing spouses can come to an agreement about who will repay each debt. In other cases, a judge will have to decide. Either way, each spouse’s debt responsibility will be outlined in the final divorce agreement. Legal experts recommend that individuals facing divorce close all joint accounts in order to protect themselves. If a joint account cannot be closed, it could be refinanced in the responsible spouse’s name.

Divorce debt agreements are critically important, but they can be stressful and emotional to negotiate. Because of this, many people facing divorce choose to seek the advice of a family law attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer could represent a spouse’s best interests throughout the divorce process and negotiate the best possible agreements on debt, alimony, child support and other family law issues.