Debt Division

Debt Division in a Thousand Oaks Divorce

Dividing Debt and Assets in Divorce

Any debts incurred by you or your spouse after the date of your marriage and before the date of your separation are presumed to be  community debt under the laws of California.   This means that you and your spouse are likely to be held  equally responsible for these debts, regardless of which party actually incurred them as long as the debt was acquired for a community purpose.

There are a number of ways to divide community debt, and at Richard Ross Associates, we are here to help you reach a resolution that is best for your situation. Contact us today. 

Common Debts in California Divorces

Any debts incurred during the course of a marriage will usually be divided in the same way that community property assets are divided. This includes: 

  • Student loans
  • Joint credit card debts 
  • Auto loans or mortgages loans  
  • Medical debts

Sometimes,  it may make sense for you to take responsibility for certain debts while your spouse assumes responsibility of others. In the event that both of you will continue to share responsibility for any one debt, it will be important to take measures to protect yourself should your spouse fail to pay the agreed payments. Another option might  be for one of you to assume responsibility for a larger portion of your debts, while at the same time receiving more of the assets in exchange. The goal is to divide the assets and debts in such a way that the net value for each spouse is roughly equal, but there are many different ways to reach this goal, and there may be ways to vary from this goal.

Divorce Attorney in Westlake Village - Dividing Debt in Divorce

Dividing your debts and assets in a way that is fair can be a lengthy and complicated process. In the division of debts, it is crucial that you have an experienced attorney working closely with you. Any mistakes or oversights in this process could endanger your future financial well-being, and even hurt your credit score, through no fault of your own. When you hire Richard Ross Associates, you will have a Certified Family Law Specialist with more than 40 years of experience on your side. We will collaborate with you one-on-one, and we offer personalized legal services to get you through this challenging time in such a way as to better prepare you for the future. Call us today to make an appointment and discuss your case.


  • I heartily recommend him to anybody in need of a well qualified, results-oriented, family law specialist.

    “I would not hesitate to, again, retain the legal services of Richard Ross.”

  • Our family and our dignity have been restored.

    “Mr. Ross and his supportive, competent staff put their hearts into their work and literally turned our lives around.”

  • The results far exceeded my expectations.

    “The entire staff at Richard Ross Associates really helped me through my divorce and they were with me the whole way.”

  • Extremely thorough and professional!

    “Richard has helped me through a very difficult divorce and I can't say enough good things about him.”

  • Polite, caring, and quick to respond.

    “Richard Ross is a subject matter expert in the field of family law.”


  • This is very important: If you have separated from your spouse before one of you has filed for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, avoid agreeing to and placing into effect a temporary parenting plan arrangement regarding the children unless you will be able to live with this arrangement after the divorce papers have been filed. Once you begin a parenting plan that seems to be working, it becomes the "status quo." It is very difficult to convince a mediator or judge to change the status quo, especially if it is working or appears to be working and is not detrimental to the minor children.
  • If you have not received a judgment dissolving your marriage before the end of the year, you may file an individual tax return under the status of "married, filing separately" or a joint tax return with your spouse. You should consult your accountant as to the advantages of these options. You may obtain special information booklets regarding tax information for divorce or separated individuals from your local IRS office or read the IRS booklet online.
  • To file an action for divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, a person must have resided in the state of California for six months and in the county where the action is filed for three months prior to filing the petition in court. This is true of either the petitioner or the respondent - either person can meet the test and allow a filing. If your spouse meets the residency requirement, you can file even if you do not meet it yourself.
  • The court can and usually will order you to move out of your residence if your spouse convinces the court that you have been violent toward your spouse or threatened your spouse. You could be given ex-parte notice to be in court the next day because your spouse is seeking an order to make you move out and stay out. You can be ordered to leave immediately and not return even if your spouse is not on the property title or lease agreement! Once you are ordered to leave, it is not likely that you will be allowed to return.
  • Before you get a divorce, photocopy all relevant financial documents that you can obtain and store them off-site with a trusted friend or relative. Do not store them in the trunk of your car where they can easily be found and removed by your spouse. There may be both personal and strategic reasons not to tip off your spouse that documents are being reviewed for a possible dissolution proceeding. Make copies of documents that you find in the residence and return the original documents to their original location as soon as possible so that your spouse won't notice that they are missing. It is often advisable to make the photocopies when you are sure your spouse is away for an extended time, such as during a workday. It is advisable to gather as many relevant financial documents as possible while they are still available and before they have been removed or destroyed by your spouse. This will significantly reduce the cost of divorce litigation if the documents do not have to be recovered later. It will also permit us to get a true picture of all community assets and debts as soon as possible.