Who Pays the Bills During a Divorce?

Posted on November 21, 2016 11:29am
Who Pays the Bills During a Divorce?

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.
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