Debt and Divorce – How to Deal with it

Divorce is never easy, especially when it comes to splitting up assets and debts. In most cases, the married parties must agree on how to divide the martial belongings, both what is owned and what is owed. While assets are easily divided, debt is a little more tricky. Most martial debt that is in both of the couple’s names can affect both people for as long as the debt exists, regardless who the divorce papers say is in charge of paying it back. Before filing for divorce, couples should take in to consideration how it will affect their debt and credit situation.

Divorce decrees are not recognized by most lenders. If a marital debt is in both names of the couple, then it is still considered owed by both regardless of what the divorce court or papers have declared. For example, if the couple bought a boat together and the wife is awarded the boat and the loan that goes with it, the husband is still responsible if the payments are not made. Unless the wife is able and willing to refinance the boat in only her name, the husbands is still expected to make the payments if she does not.

Since many marital loans and debts may take years or even decades to pay off, as long as they exist, the couple is still tied to each other. One way to handle this is to separate debts into one or the others name only before the divorce. Another is to pay off the debts together before the divorce. For large ticket debts like homes or vehicles, it may be best to sell the property versus having one person take over the payments while the other person’s name is still attached to the debt. By dealing with the debt issue ahead of time, both people can go their separate ways without having a financial tie for years to come.

Secured Debt vs Unsecured Debt – What’s The Difference?

When consumers buy on credit, there are two main types of debt that they can incur: secured and unsecured. The difference is fairly simple, yet they can be treated very differently in many ways. In basic terms, a secured debt has collateral that can be taken if the debt is not repaid. Unsecured debt is not attached to any tangible collateral, only the promise of repayment by the debtor. Because of this main difference, these two types of debt usually have different interest rates and consequences when they are not repaid.

Secured Debt
Most secured debt is for large purchases or investments. In these cases the loan is borrowed to buy a large purchase, such as a house, vehicle or boat. Because the loan is secured, interest rates are generally lower than unsecured credit. The item purchased is put as collateral with the stipulation that if the loan is not paid as agreed, the lending institution has the right to repossess the item. Another way secured debt is incurred is for cash loans. A person may use an item such as a home or vehicle as collateral to receive monies for personal reasons. Whatever is used as collateral is then subject to possible repossession if the loan is not repaid or if the person files bankruptcy.

Unsecured Debt
The most common types of unsecured debts are credit cards or signature loans. In both cases, credit is given based on the promise of the debtor to repay. While not repaying the debt will negatively affect the persons credit worthiness and score, usually the lender has no alternatives beyond reporting the unpaid debt to credit agencies. Due to this, unsecured credit and loans are generally at higher interest rates since they are a higher risk for the lenders. If the person files bankruptcy or does not pay, the debt is usually a complete loss for the lender.