Is Your Partner’s Debt Wreaking Havoc On Your Relationship?

Your Valentine might have given you a box of chocolates yesterday, but will he leave you with debt tomorrow?

Earlier this month we talked about the consequences of hiding debt from your significant other. But what about the reverse - how does your spouse's debt affect you? It's not the most romantic topic, but with Valentine's Day come and gone maybe it's time to give it some thought. Understanding how your relationship affects your finances - both if you stay together and if you divorce - is essential, explain Chicago bankruptcy attorneys.

Some debts are more deadly to our romantic relationships than others. For instance, most of the financial history your partner accumulated before marriage - i.e. student loans or credit card debts - won't affect you legally, assuming they remain in his or her name.

But here's where it gets tricky. Creditors can go after your joint assets in order to recover unpaid debts. So if your partner hasn't been paying her credit card bills, the house you own together could be at risk, even after you divorce.

Regardless of how your debts are divvied up, there's another issue at hand - your partner's behavior. Even if you're not technically responsible for your spouse's obligations, financial baggage can make it difficult to build a life together. If one person in the relationship is in over their head it debt, it can affect the other's ability to pay the mortgage and put food on the table and leave you both fending off calls from creditors.

But it may not be too late. There are steps you can take to recover from debts that your significant other racked up before or during your relationship. If you haven't yet tied the knot, consider having an attorney draw up a prenuptial agreement - it will let you define what assets to share and what to keep separate.

If you're already married, developing a spending plan can help you get back on track. Consider taking the DebtStoppers Budget Challenge, a free family budget that you can print out and use to balance your costs with your income. And if you can't seem to get things to add up, get help - like a free personal debt analysis with a Chicago bankruptcy attorney. Because you shouldn't have to live until debt do you part.

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