What liabilities are involved with divorce? 8 Answers as of February 11, 2011

Is there any financial or legal liability for the person who decides that they want to file for divorce? It seems to me that if one party walks away from their side of the obligations, ie car payments, house payments, etc that there should be some liability and they should be responsible for what they owe. Legally, is the person who initiates the divorce responsible for upholding their end of financial obligations that were made when the couple was together?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
Yes. Both parties owe a fiduciary responsibility to each other before, and during a divorce. If necessary, you can seek a court order compelling the other party to do their part.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/11/2011
Law Office of Curry & Westgate
Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
The debts and liabilities are usually divided 50/50 by the court, however in reality, the creditors go after the one who can pay.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/11/2011
Goldberg Jones
Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
It does not matter who files or asks for the divorce. The assets and debts are generally split equally under community property laws in California. There are exceptions to this rule and you also have to consider who signed the contract on the liabilities. Call an attorney for a free consultation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/11/2011
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
I have reviewed your case information and I can help you with your divorce and take you through all the steps necessary to make as sure as can be that you give only what you must, and receive everything to which you are entitled.

Since documents have not been filed with the court it is very important that we speak as soon as possible, so I can evaluate your problem, and if hired protect all of your interests, hopefully without going to court. Generally everything good and bad (assets and debts) are equally divided. If you have specific questions you can telephone me.

You may find some helpful information on my website. The best way to contact me for an immediate response is for you to call.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/11/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Both parties are equally responsible for community debts.

No additional liability attaches to the party who initiates the divorce.

The Court ordinarily divides the net assets 50/50, i.e., the value of the community assets less the amount of the community obligations.

If one party is financially unable to pay his/her share of the obligations, the party better able to pay may be awarded a larger portion of the community assets to counterbalance the larger portion of the community debts that party would be ordered to pay.

If the net value of the community assets less obligations is a negative figure, the Court does have the discretion to divide the community debts unequally, i.e., to order the party with the better ability to pay the debts, but that party is generally awarded all or at least a substantial amount of the community property, if any exists.

If a party is ordered to pay community debts and fails to do so, the creditors can sue the other party for those debts and collect those obligations from the party sued. That party can sue the ordered party for repayment, but if the ordered party declares bankruptcy, the liability of the bankrupting party to the other can be discharged.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/10/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Each party has an equal obligation to the debts of the community. It doesn't matter who files or if one person desires to walk away from this responsibility. The duty remains.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    Both parties are equally liable for the debts of the community (the marriage), just as they are both entitled to the assets of the community, regardless of who filed first. It rarely matters who files first (the Petitioner). It does not make the Court think that the Respondent is in the wrong. The situation you describe is complicated by the fact that the credit to the party who paid the other's half of a marital debt obligation is offset by the debt that party incurs by having exclusive use of the asset. You should see a free consultation with a local Family Law Attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Divorce is not permission to walk away from debts. All assets and debts are characterized as community or separate property, and then divided and allocated accordingly. To get a complete understand of how your assets and debts will be handled in a divorce, best to call a local family law lawyer. He/she can go over all aspects of your divorce and educate you as to the process.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2011
Click to View More Answers: