Asset Division: Community Property
When a married couple seeks a divorce, it must decide how to split its debts, assets, and property. If the spouses cannot negotiate a decision on its own, the divorce court will handle it for them.
The laws for how a court determines asset division vary from state to state. Most states follow an equitable distribution model, but Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin use what is called “community property.”
In community property states, all of each spouse’s assets and debts are split right down the middle. Each spouse will be responsible for half of the debts accrued through the marriage and will be entitled to half of the assets.
However, there is a chance that a spiteful spouse will rack up new debt after making the decision to divorce, knowing he or she will be responsible for only half of it afterwards. An attorney can help you recognize and fight this unfair financial manipulation in court.