December 1, 2023

How to Get a Divorce in California When the Other Party Has Debt

Getting a divorce is already a complicated and emotional process, but it can become even more complicated when one party has debt. In California, community property laws are in place, which means that any assets or debts acquired during the marriage are considered joint property. This means that both parties are responsible for the debts incurred during the marriage, even if only one party incurred the debt. In this article, we will discuss how to get a divorce in California when the other party has debt.

Gather Financial Information

The first step in getting a divorce in California is to gather all financial information. This includes bank statements, tax returns, credit card statements, and any other financial documents. It is important to gather this information for both parties to get an accurate understanding of the financial situation.

Identify Community Property and Separate Property

After gathering all the financial information, it is important to identify which assets and debts are considered community property and which are separate property. Community property is any asset or debt acquired during the marriage, while separate property is any asset or debt acquired before the marriage or after the separation.


Hire a Divorce Attorney

If the other party has significant debt, it is highly recommended to hire a divorce attorney. A divorce attorney can help you understand your legal rights and obligations, negotiate with the other party, and ensure that you receive a fair settlement.

Negotiate a Settlement

Once all financial information has been gathered and reviewed, and a divorce attorney has been hired, the next step is to negotiate a settlement. This involves dividing the community property and debts between the two parties. It is important to keep in mind that both parties are responsible for the debts incurred during the marriage, even if only one party incurred the debt. Therefore, it is important to come up with a fair settlement that takes into account both parties’ financial situations.

Consider Bankruptcy

In some cases, it may be necessary for one or both parties to consider filing for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy can help discharge debts and provide a fresh start. However, it is important to understand the consequences of filing for bankruptcy, as it can have a significant impact on credit scores and future financial opportunities.


Getting a divorce in California can be a complex and emotional process, especially when one party has debt. However, by gathering financial information, identifying community and separate property, hiring a divorce attorney, negotiating a settlement, and considering bankruptcy, it is possible to navigate this difficult situation and come to a fair resolution.

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