Lisa L. JohnsonAttorney at law
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Divorce And Family Law Issues

Indemnity clause can enforce promises made in property division

Untying the knot in a Kentucky marriage can be a challenging affair. Matters of most concern typically include child-related issues and property division. Each spouse will want to make sure he or she receives a fair share of the marital assets. However, some do not realize that they will also be responsible for a portion of the debt. Their first inkling might be to pay off all debts before filing for a divorce, but that might not be the best option.

If one spouse wants to keep the family home, he or she might have to refinance the mortgage. This will require a reappraisal of the property, and that value could be a negotiation point which might affect the amount of debt for which that spouse will be responsible. For this reason, it might be wise to hold back on paying off debts in a hurry.

The first step would be to get a full picture of all the debt, and this information will typically be available on a credit report. Regardless of which spouse was responsible for the debt, the creditors will only be interested in the names of the people legally obligated on the account. During settlement negotiations, spouses can decide how to divide the debts, but until the accounts are settled in full the creditors will seek to hold responsible the parties whose names are on the agreement to repay.

It is not uncommon for one party to agree to settle a debt and then fails to keep that promise. However, with the help of an experienced Kentucky divorce attorney, being left with that financial burden might be avoided. A lawyer can include an indemnity clause in the divorce settlement. This will give that person the right to sue the ex-spouse if he or she fails to keep a promise that was made during property division negotiations.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Marital Debt: Who's Responsible and How Can You Avoid Getting Screwed?", Vikki Ziegler, Nov. 7, 2017

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