If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you may be wondering
who is responsible for paying household bills until the divorce has been
finalized. Should you be held responsible for paying utility bills, for
example, if you have moved out of your marital home? What about the mortgage?
Should you open your own bank account and credit card accounts? In this
blog, we will provide you with a brief overview of how these financial
matters should be handled during a divorce.
During the early stages of divorce, it is often advisable for couples to
try and maintain the financial
status quo. For example, if one spouse is the primary earner in the family, he or
she may need to continue paying bills that they ordinarily would pay until
the divorce is finalized. It may be difficult or even impossible for one
spouse to assume new financial responsibilities during this time.
If your name is on a bill (i.e. the account is not jointly owned), you
should probably pay the bill. For joint accounts, you may need to negotiate
with your spouse about who will pay the bill. If the bill is for a car
payment that is under both of your names, for example, you should figure
out who plans to keep the car after the divorce to determine who should
pay the bill.
As you meet your financial responsibilities, you should keep a written
record of your earning and spending. This documentation is important because
it gives you something that you can show the court about where your money
goes every month and who has been responsible for paying bills.
As far as opening new bank accounts and new lines of credit, this is something
that you may wish to consider to protect your finances. This can be accomplished
during the initial stages of divorce, but be prepared to share this information
with your spouse in court.
It is generally best for all parties to negotiate who will pay what. Your
divorce lawyer can help you navigate these issues. Also, any agreements
made between you and your spouse can be made into temporary orders by
the court for ease of enforcement, if necessary.
If you are facing a divorce in Oregon, we invite you to
contact a Portland divorce attorney
at McKinley Irvin to schedule an initial case evaluation. We can provide
you with experienced counsel on how to meet your financial obligations
while still protecting your financial health and security.