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Postnuptial agreements and spousal debt

On Behalf of | Dec 25, 2019 | Family Law |

A New York resident seeking to get married probably does not want to marry the debt carried by a new partner. Some people worry that if they divorce a spouse with debt, they will be on the hook for some of that debt as well. Still, in the event a person does marry a spouse who is carrying debt, the couple can still address the issue with a postnuptial agreement. 

As explained by the New York City Bar, a couple can compose a postnuptial agreement to address a number of financial issues. For instance, some spouses may have a career but want to give it up to stay home and raise the kids. A postnuptial can establish spousal maintenance for the nonworking spouse. Couples may also decide to specifically address financial assets in a postnuptial agreement. 

Additionally, postnuptial agreements can divide property owned by the couple into separate property and marital property. This is to keep separate property from being divided up in a divorce. The same goes for debt brought into a marriage. Should one or both spouses own substantial debt, a postnuptial agreement may state that debt owned by one spouse is not shared with the other. 

Still, a postnuptial agreement does not always protect a spouse from being held responsible for debts incurred during the marriage. According to U.S. News and World Report, a judge may order you to pay for debt even if it is in the name of your spouse. This could happen if you own a credit card account with your spouse. Conversely, a judge may order your spouse to pay some of the debt, but if he or she refuses, a creditor might hold you liable for it. 

These scenarios are why it may be helpful to ask a family law attorney for assistance if you wish to draft a postnuptial agreement to address your debt or the debt of a spouse. There are many factors, even while trying to guard yourself against taking on the debt of a spouse, that you or other couples may not foresee.