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What happens to joint debt after your divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2024 | Divorce |

Divorce impacts many areas of your life, including your finances. Questions often arise about what happens to joint debt once your marriage ends.

Learning about what happens to your shared financial obligations when you divorce is important for anyone going through this process.


In Wisconsin, both spouses are generally responsible for joint debt incurred during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the account. This means that even if a debt is in one spouse’s name, both spouses may still be liable for repayment.

Dividing debt

During divorce proceedings, the court will typically divide marital assets and debts equitably between the spouses. This means that joint debts, such as mortgages, car loans and credit card debt, are the responsibility of both parties unless there is an enforceable agreement that states otherwise.

Separating joint accounts

To protect themselves from future liability, divorcing couples may choose to close joint accounts or transfer balances to individual accounts. However, ensure that all joint accounts are properly addressed in the divorce decree to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes later on.

Creditors’ rights

Creditors are not bound by the terms of a divorce decree, which means they can still pursue both spouses for joint debt, regardless of any agreements made during the divorce. If one spouse fails to pay their share of the debt, creditors may go after the other spouse for repayment.


In some cases, divorcing couples may choose to refinance joint debt to remove one spouse’s name from the account. However, this may not always be possible, especially if the spouse seeking to remove their name does not qualify for refinancing on their own.

By understanding what happens to joint debt after a divorce, couples can work towards a fair and equitable resolution of their financial matters.



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