Marriage: The Financial Burdens Of Divorce Part 2


Part of the difficulty of divorce is separating matrimonial property. After getting the legal background of the provisions governing the division of matrimonial property, the actual work now begins. As much as the courts may issue directives as to how the asset and liability portfolio of a splitting couple should be dealt with, they can only do so much in facilitating this performance. In matters to do with debt, regardless of the decree of the court, creditors will still hold the spouses to the loan instruments that they signed. John and Jane, therefore, will have to find ways to release themselves from their joint credit cards, mortgage or loans.

  1. Credit cards

The steps to be made here will depend on whether your spouse was an authorized user or a joint cardholder.

If while applying for her card, Jane signed up as the primary account holder and then allowed John to access and use it, then she must call the bank to revoke his status as an authorized user. The authorized user does not bear the liability of paying off the debt, therefore, closing John off from using the card will make sure he doesn’t rack up charges which she will have to pay.

If they were joint account holders, both of them are liable to pay the accrued debt. Canceling the card is the first step, but the account will still remain active until the balance is paid. As long as the account remains active, both John and Jane’s names will still be attached and they’ll still both be held liable by the bank. If the court had issued a directive on how the liability was to be shared, it is up to both John and Jane to comply in order to be freed from it. It is important even if you are not the one paying to still keep track because your credit score is at stake.

Read more here on removing your name from a joint account

  1. Loans

After splitting the marital debt, in order to be sure that each spouse is responsible for their own loans without necessarily putting the other at a disadvantage, John and Jane may both choose to approach their financing institution to refinance their loans.

This basically means that the loan will be reworked to change a few things such that the debt still remains but on new terms. For example, they may choose to each consolidate their part of the debt separately such that instead of having Jane and John owing the bank a million shillings, it could be Jane owing three hundred thousand shillings and John owing seven hundred thousand shillings depending on the court directives.


Divorce and money. Image via
  1. Mortgages

This is possibly the most difficult of all the debt you could share since it comes not only with huge monetary attachment but also emotional value and nostalgia.

In this instance, since the parties are not going to be together under the same roof anymore, refinancing the mortgage in favor of the spouse who wants to keep it is one of the options available. If John decides to keep the house or has been awarded the house by the court, the two can approach their financing institution to rework the charge instrument to reflect this change thereby freeing Jane from the financial obligation.

Alternatively, the property could be sold or rented out to third parties. Renting is a difficult choice, however since the spouses will still have to share landlord responsibilities. It would only be effective if the split is amicable and the two are still willing to work together.

Read more here on options available for divorcing couples with a mortgage

Ultimately, regardless of the liabilities to be split, it would be in the best interests of each party to have a good divorce lawyer who will represent them to ensure the best deal for them.

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