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Dividing debt during a divorce in California

Most couples who are preparing for divorce know that they will need to divide their property, but they may not realize that they will also need to divide their debt. While the final division of debt will depend on the couple’s specific circumstances, there is helpful information available about this process in California.

Generally, separating couples have the option to work out an agreement themselves to divide their debt equally and in a way that is fair to each party. It’s important to note that this agreement is not final until a judge signs off on it and issues a final order. If couples cannot agree on how to divide their debt, they may decide to go to court to resolve the issue.

Also, couples should be open and honest with each other about the value of their property and debt. There can be penalties for withholding this information.


Sometimes, separating couples will look at the entire amount of debt they owe and divide it in half. While they can decide to do this between themselves, their creditors may not have to honor that agreement.

Creditors can still seek repayment from the spouse that signed the agreement for credit, regardless of who decided to be responsible for paying the debt in the couple’s agreement.


Couples may want to consider participating in financial mediation. It is conducted by an impartial person who helps the parties reach an agreement about the debt that they can both accept.

Dividing property and debt can be a difficult part of divorce. An experienced attorney can help couples navigate this process.