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Who Pays the Debts in a California Divorce?

Meet the Mitchells

When Andrew and Sallie said, “I do,” they did not have plans to ever say, “I don’t.” Unfortunately, life often gets in the way of love. Fifteen years, two kids, three failed businesses and plenty of debt later, Andrew and Sallie were looking at separation options before them. Unfortunately, there were a lot of questions about the debt they had accumulated.

Who takes on the debt?

While each state’s laws differ regarding division of assets and debts, during a divorce proceeding, California law provides for community property. Community property is assets (and debts) acquired together during the marriage.  

What about separate debt?

An exception to the above can be debt acquired by one spouse before the marriage. This could be student loans, credit card debt, real property or home or medical expenses that were incurred prior to the marriage.

All of these financial details can be extremely complicated and take monumental amounts of time to understand on your own. This is why an experienced attorney can help you understand the law relative to your specific case, the options you have and how to judge- the ultimate decision maker in many cases- might divide community property. You do not have to do this alone. In fact, proceeding without an attorney will likely cost more in time and expense if you are forced to retain an attorney after judgement to handle what could have been handled during the initial process.  Protect yourself, your children, and your interests.

Ask a Seal Beach Divorce Attorney

Regardless of the specific financial details of your divorce and how you would like to proceed, Ann A. Thomson is fully prepared to protect and fight for your rights and interests in court. Ann A. Thomson is flexible in her approach and will help you understand the legal aspects of your case in an understanding manner. Whether through level-headed negotiation or determined litigation, Ann’s focus is on producing real results that YOU desire. Contact Ann’s office in Seal Beach today at 562-431-4333 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Initial consultations are absolutely free.


From offices in Seal Beach, the Law Office of Ann A. Thomson serves clients throughout Southern California in communities such as Seal Beach, Santa Ana, Brea, Yorba Linda, Fullerton, Corona Del Mar, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, Mission Viejo, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Anaheim, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Norwalk, Torrance, Rancho Palos Verdes and Los Angeles.