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Divorce and Debt: What You Need to Know

Published January 20, 2021
As an equitable distribution state, Oregon will typically seek to achieve a fair division of your marital debts. Dividing up debt during the divorce process can quickly become complicated, so contact an attorney for guidance and support.

When you decide to get married, you and your spouse are likely imagining a bright future ahead of you. While your marriage may begin on stable ground, you may eventually find that a divorce is your best option for enjoying a more fulfilling life. If you and your partner are thinking about pursuing a divorce in Oregon, you probably have several questions about the process. One major area where questions naturally arise is the division of your debts. While most people understand that your marital property is divided between you and your spouse during the divorce, it’s important to recognize that your debts will also be divided. Let’s take a closer look at how your debts will be addressed during the divorce process and how working with an experienced divorce attorney can help you complete this challenging task.

Oregon is an Equitable Distribution State

Oregon is considered an equitable distribution state, so the court will strive to divide up the spouses’ debt over the course of the marriage. In almost all cases, debt is divided equally. Some exceptions can include student loan debt and credit card debt incurred after you file for divorce. Like mortgages and car loans, other debts are often required to be refinanced once the divorce is finalized. If you think that a divorce may be on the horizon, contact an experienced divorce attorney who can help you understand what to expect from the process.

Potential Complications

Unfortunately, banks are not interested in the status of your marriage. They will still expect you to pay any debts in your name, even if your ex racked up an expensive bill on your credit card. Even if you refuse to pay this balance because you weren’t responsible for incurring the debt, the bank will expect you to pay. Any failure to do so may damage your credit score, thus further complicating your life.

Take Action Before the Divorce is Finalized

As soon as you realize that divorce may be an option for you and your spouse, it’s a good idea to reach out to a knowledgeable divorce attorney. The sooner you initiate these conversations, the smoother the process tends to be. No matter your situation’s specifics, working with an attorney can give you the guidance and support you need to navigate your divorce successfully.


For more information about how debts and other property are handled during the divorce process, reach out to the trusted and compassionate legal team at Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. today. Call our Portland office at (503) 233-8868 to discuss your questions, concerns, and divorce goals.

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