You and your spouse are preparing for a divorce. In addition to dividing your assets, you may also be wondering whether you’ll be responsible for your spouse’s debt.

Continue reading to learn how Louisiana handles marital debt and what you can do about it.

Defining community debt vs. separate debt

Louisiana defines community debt as debt acquired from the day your marriage began until the day of your divorce. Such debt must have either been acquired for both spouses’ interest or acquired by one spouse for the other spouse’s interest. Both parties are responsible for such debt. In the event of a divorce, community debt is divided in a 50/50 split.

Separate debt describes the personal debt you acquired—usually before your marriage—which you are solely responsible for.

How to start dealing with your community debt

You may be so overwhelmed with your and your spouse’s debt that you don’t know what to do next. You will have to work with your spouse in some capacity to deal with your marital debt, so it’s important to remain cordial.

A good place for both of you to begin is by making separate lists where you document the debt you individually brought into the marriage. After that, you can start on a list of the debt you have acquired since you got married. These kinds of debts could be auto loans, credit cards, mortgages, personal loans and student loans. Determining the exact amount of debt will help you to set up a debt repayment plan.

After your divorce is final, you’ll still want to make sure your ex continues paying their part of your shared debt. It will also be useful to keep tabs on your credit report to make sure your ex is continuing to make payments. If not, this could negatively affect both of your credit scores.

Realizing how much debt you’ve acquired before and after getting married can be a stressful realization. By organizing a list of the debt you owe and the debt you and your ex owe together, you’re taking a step in the right direction.